Salt Lake names Pastorino first GM
Newly-appointed general manager Steve Pastorino took the reins of Salt Lake City's Major League Soccer expansion club Wednesday and outlined the framework of the club's aggressive plan to be fully prepared by the time its inaugural season kicks off in April 2005.
"Forgive me if it seems like we're going a million miles an hour," Pastorino said, "because we need to."
Items "1" and "1A" on the agenda are to finalize the club's name, logo and colors and to hire a head coach. Pastorino said those two announcements will come in short order and at approximately the same time.
"I have to get a head coach in here as quickly as possible because that expansion draft is about two months from tomorrow if my understanding is correct," Pastorino said.
With a team name, logo and colors in place, Pastorino and the new club can begin to map out a marketing strategy, including developing ways to involve local youth soccer organizations and ethnic communities and creating local television broadcasting partnerships, an area where Pastorino found success while working as an assistant general manager with the Chicago Fire.
While with the Fire, Pastorino helped increase the club's presence on the airwaves to the point where the team has more than 100 telecasts on Fox Sports Net and Telemundo and its games are broadcast on radio in three languages. Pastorino has twice been honored for his accomplishments in Chicago, winning MLS Marketing Executive of the Year in both 1998 and 2001.
"I just feel really blessed to get someone of Steve's caliber to not only be excited about coming to Salt Lake, but to really just embrace it," said David Checketts, chairman and owner of the new Salt Lake City team.
At the same time that he thanked Fire general manager Peter Wilt and the rest of the organization for helping him succeed in Chicago, Pastorino said he is not content to rest on his laurels, noting that the ideal coaching candidate is one who will help bring an MLS Cup title to Salt Lake City in 2005.
"Those who know me know the expectations I have of myself and that we had of the Chicago Fire, and you can expect that we're going to hold this team to a higher standard," Pastorino said.
"We want to leave a legacy of soccer in Utah," he added. "The legacy starts right now ... and we can't wait to get to work."
Joining Pastorino in Utah is Chris Keeney, who was named the new club's senior director of sales. Keeney had served as director of sales at D.C. United since 2001 and had previously worked in corporate and community programs with United for 4 1/2 years. In 2000 and 2001, Keeney was honored with MLS' Commissioner's New Business Leadership award.
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.