Minnesota United FC announced the club's first CEO on Monday, hiring Chris Wright who has recently served as the president of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves and the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx for the last 13 seasons.
Wright, a native of England who played and coached in various professional and semi-pro leagues, will oversee both the business and sporting sides at MNUFC. He assumes his new position on Friday, October 6 following the end of the WNBA season.
“Soccer — at both the professional and grass roots level — is the fastest growing sport in the United States,” Wright said in a club statement. “I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to return to my own sport roots, help build an iconic stadium — Allianz Field — and help this great new franchise and team build on the legacy of soccer in our community. It is an honor to work with this incredible ownership group and staff, and to have the chance to optimize this great sport for fans, partners and all of those who are part of our vibrant, growing and diverse community.”
When he first arrived to the USA, Wright became the general manager of Major Indoor Soccer League teams Pittsburgh Spirit (1981–86) and Minnesota Strikers (1986–87). He later became the first director of the National Sports Center in Blaine, the current home for Minnesota United's training grounds.
"The addition to our group of such experienced, tested and proven leadership — from the business, fan and sporting sides — is a tremendous and unprecedented positive for us, our fans and this community," MNUFC managing partner Bill McGuire said in the same club statement. "Building on our accomplishments to date, his impact will be meaningful, obvious and positive as we further the great tradition of the world’s game here in The North.”
In his most recent post Wright oversaw the business operations of both the Wolves and Lynx, including a staff of 140 employees. His responsibilities included forging relationships with key partners and working on the current renovation of Target Center.