MLS Rivals Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers Faucet Legal Expertise

The Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers, two of the major rivals in Major League Soccer, are among the a number of clubs incorporating to their lawful teams off the pitch.

Felipe Mendez, who invested the previous 3 years as basic counsel for the Bellevue School District around Seattle, joined the Sounders this thirty day period as an associate standard counsel. He is also president of Washington Youth Soccer, an group focused to advertising the activity amid small children in the point out.

The Sounders promoted longtime legal chief Maya Mendoza-Exstrom to chief functioning officer previously this calendar year. She did not reply to a request for comment. In May, the Sounders beat Mexico City’s Pumas UNAM in entrance of an MLS record 68,700 followers in Seattle to become the initial MLS aspect to progress to the FIFA Club Planet Cup.

That identical month the Timbers employed Heather Davis, a longtime in-home lawyer with the National Soccer League, as their new typical counsel. Davis joined the Timbers after a calendar year as senior corporate counsel for mergers and acquisitions at Vacasa Inc., a vacation rental management business primarily based in Portland, Ore.

Davis explained in an job interview that the Covid-19 pandemic prompted her to leave the NFL’s New York headquarters in May 2021 after approximately 9 decades with the league. The previous Paul Hastings and Covington & Burling associate, an Oregon native, and her partner relocated that summer months to the state’s wine country.

MLS is closing in on a coveted place as 1 of North America’s Major Four skilled athletics leagues. In June, Apple Inc. inked a very long-term streaming legal rights deal for MLS video games. The league has expanded fast in modern several years, with an enlargement team owned by hedge fund mogul David Tepper getting the field this 12 months in Charlotte, N.C., and a further club in St. Louis established to start off perform subsequent calendar year.

New Level of competition

Davis returns to the sporting activities earth with her new position as lawful main for the Timbers and Portland Thorns FC, an affiliated franchise in the Nationwide Women’s Soccer League.

“The soccer tradition on both the men’s and women’s side is good in Portland—it’s pleasurable to be a aspect of it,” Davis said. “I sense really lucky to have been capable to discover my way back into sports out below.”

She took more than from previous Timbers and Thorns general counsel Lori Le Cheminant, who invested more than a few many years in the position. Le Cheminant didn’t react to a ask for for comment about her departure from the crew.

The Timbers and Sounders every single calendar year vie for the Cascadia Cup alongside with another Pacific Northwest mainstay, the Vancouver Whitecaps. All a few groups are at the moment bunched with each other in the middle of MLS’ Western Meeting standings.

Mendez was out of the office environment and unavailable for comment about his new Sounders role, which is outlined on the team’s website, as very well as his LinkedIn profile and registration with the Washington Condition Bar Association. Public information exhibit that Mendez earned $190,000 through 2020 in his prior position as a school district legal chief.

More MLS Moves

The Sounders and Timbers aren’t the only MLS groups using the services of legal professionals.

LAFC, a Los Angeles-primarily based group with Significant Law backing that currently sits atop the Western Conference table, recruited a alternative for its previous basic counsel Randy Haight, who in December joined the Coca-Cola Co. The franchise hired new lawful chief Joseph Connaughton III in February immediately after he spent three years as counsel for the Countrywide Basketball Association’s Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder.

Connaughton brought on former Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner affiliate D. Logan Kutcher as senior counsel in April. Kutcher most just lately labored in-house at Lyft Inc. and Dish Community Corp.

In May, FC Cincinnati announced its seek the services of of vice president of lawful affairs Paula Boggs Muething soon after she stepped down as Cincinnati’s metropolis manager. Bloomberg Regulation noted past calendar year on a former associate at Cincinnati’s Keating Muething & Klekamp, in which Boggs Muething the moment labored, supporting the staff open up a new stadium.

FC Dallas in January tapped James O’Sullivan to succeed Alan Tompkins as its general counsel. O’Sullivan was formerly an assistant general counsel and director of land administration at Dallas-centered Unity Hunt Inc. Tomkins has served as standard counsel for the privately held company managed by the Hunt spouse and children, longtime benefactors of US soccer and proprietors of the NFL’s Kansas Metropolis Chiefs.