Starting in 2023, Huntsville will have a new pro soccer team, as we discussed back in July. And that new team will have a very familiar face in its front office, as the team announced that Chad Emerson, the former CEO for Downtown Huntsville, Inc., has been named the managing director of business operations.
In his role, Emerson will serve as the head of the Huntsville NEXT Pro team and will lead them through the day-to-day activities. Here’s the scoop:
Pro soccer in Huntsville
Mayor Tommy Battle announced in July that Huntsville will soon have its own minor league soccer team, an MLS NEXT Pro affiliate of the Nashville Soccer Club.
MLS NEXT Pro is the third tier division of Major League Soccer, and currently has 21 clubs in cities like Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, Orlando, Portland and Vancouver.
“Having spent time in the city with Mayor Battle and his team, I have seen first-hand the energy and innovation that is driving the city forward. Looking ahead to 2023, we are excited to partner with the City of Huntsville and Nashville Soccer Club to deliver professional soccer to North Alabama and its fans.”Charles Altchek, president of MLS NEXT Pro
The team will play at what will be the newly-renovated Joe Davis Stadium. Renovations to Joe Davis Stadium will be completed by this time next year, according to developers Chapman-Sisson.
“Soccer has consistently been one of the most popular and fastest growing sports in our region. When the City decided to renovate Joe Davis Stadium and convert its playing field to multi-use fields, we hoped pro soccer would find a way here. Today, we are proud to deliver this exciting sports amenity to our community.”Mayor Tommy Battle
Nashville SC and the City of Huntsville will be announcing more information regarding the team’s identity, brand and schedule in the coming months.
Why Chad Emerson?
Emerson’s hiring by Huntsville’s soccer team makes sense, because he has been a catalyst for both the growth and the preservation of Huntsville as the founding CEO of Downtown Huntsville, Inc.
Emerson served as the CEO of DHI since the organization’s inception in 2013 and was a driving force behind transforming Huntsville’s downtown into the thriving cultural and commercial center that it is today. He stepped down from that role in late August this year.
Huntsville and DHI garnered numerous awards during Emerson’s time, including multiple International Downtown Association awards for placemaking and unique downtown projects, and the city’s recent ranking as the best place to live in America by US News & World Report.
“I am pleased to have found somebody with Chad’s local experience to lead our business efforts for our NEXT Pro team. As we saw during the building of Nashville Soccer Club, having key people who know and understand the local market are crucial in shaping the club and the business to fit with the city. I feel confident that Chad and the team we assemble can build something unique and fitting for the City of Huntsville.”Ian Ayre, CEO of Nashville SC and president of Huntsville NEXT Pro
When Emerson left DHI, he said he was looking for a new opportunity and hoped to stay in Huntsville. And he got his wish.
“Excited to be staying in Huntsville and beginning a great new experience as the Managing Director of Business Operations for Nashville SC”s MLS NEXT Pro team in Huntsville. Let’s get ready for some amazing Pro soccer in the Rocket City next Spring!”Chad Emerson