The United Soccer League announced on Tuesday the appointment of Betsy Haugh as its Director of Women’s Soccer Operations. Haugh joins the organization having previously served as the General Manager for the Pulaski Yankees, where in 2018 she was named the Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year.
A native of Earlysville, Va., Haugh competed collegiately at Marshall University for two seasons before shifting into the Sports Information Department at Marshall and earning her Bachelor’s in Sports Management and Marketing. Haugh subsequently earned a Master’s degree in Communications at Virginia Tech before moving into professional baseball.
Haugh began her career with the Danville Braves, where she was Sales and Marketing Manager and took on a role with the Appalachian League as its publicist. While with the Braves, Haugh helped the club earn Organization of the Year honors in the Appalachian League in 2017 while also being named Appalachian League Woman of Excellence and Outstanding Employee of the Year.
The following year, Haugh was appointed the Assistant General Manager of the Pulaski Yankees. Following the conclusion of the 2018 season she was promoted to General Manager, and in 2019 the Yankees finished first in the Appalachian League’s East Division and led the league in attendance.
We spoke with Betsy about her career thus far and what some of her goals are at the league office.
Betsy Haugh | Director, Operations - Women's Soccer
What attracted you to the USL and this position?
The USL is a forward-thinking league that is growing rapidly and impacting the sport of soccer in unique ways. They’ve also shown a commitment to work to better society, which is tremendously inspiring. The initiatives currently being developed are focused on equity and opportunity both on and off-the-field. Creating avenues for people to achieve their dreams. The opportunity to join the USL and work with a group of likeminded, passionate sports executives to build this league up, both on and off the field, was one I could not pass up.
What does soccer mean to you and what are you looking to accomplish in a role like this?
Soccer has been a part of my life since I was very young and I’ve experienced the game as a player, fan and now executive. Some of my best memories growing up came on a soccer field, and I love the power soccer has to unite people around a shared passion for the game. This role is a chance for me to help create more opportunities for girls and women to play soccer and enjoy all the game has to offer, like I was fortunate to have. I remember the seven-year-old Betsy who first fell in love with the game, and I hope I make her proud with the work I do as part of the USL team as we strive to create more opportunities, advance gender equity and use soccer as a force for societal good.
What do you think of the state of the Women's game in the U.S. and where do you see it heading?
The women’s game in the U.S. is extremely exciting right now and there is tremendous momentum for women’s soccer in the country and worldwide. With continued investment, increased media attention, and more opportunities for fan engagement, the women’s game is poised for continual significant growth in the years to come. It’s going to be a beautiful thing to both watch and be a part of.
What experience will you lean on from your career to date to accomplish what you're aiming to at USL?
In just a few weeks, I’ve seen firsthand how many similarities there are between my previous work and USL and how the skills learned working in the sports industry are transferable across sports. The knowledge I gained working at the club level in MiLB will be invaluable as we look to develop something sustainable and growth-focused, knowing the success of each and every one of our clubs is at the heart of that. I’m very much looking forward to working with and supporting our clubs as we collectively work to raise the level of the women’s game and create more opportunities for girls and women to live their dreams of playing and/or working in soccer.