Racing Louisville president Brad Estes to step away from soccer

Racing Louisville FC celebratiing win on field / JWS

Racing Louisville FC and Soccer Holdings president Brad Estes is stepping away from the club to pursue another opportunity outside of soccer, the club announced Monday. James O’Connor will take over in the interim.

“We thank Brad for his efforts these last five years and know that we wouldn’t be where we are today without his diligence and leadership,” said John Neace, Soccer Holdings’ chairman and CEO. “We wish him well and know that he will continue to do great things in his career. As we all know, you don’t replace a Brad. He will always be a part of the purple family.”

Estes has been with the organization for five years. He originally began working with Soccer Holdings in 2016 with Louisville City FC. He helped the club to a USL Championship title in 2017 and 2018.

In a letter posted to social media, Estes called it “the most rewarding five years of my career.”

“As difficult as this realization has been, the time has come for me to turn the page,” he continued. “I look forward to starting my next adventure outside of sports, but this one will always hold a special place in my heart. We’ve put in a good shift, we’ve accomplished more than we could have imagined, and you’re being left in good hands.

“Trust me when I say that this isn’t goodbye. I very much look forward to being a tailgater, a supporter, and a heckler of opposing keepers.”

O’Connor, who was Louisville City’s first head coach from 2015-2018, returned in 2020 as executive vice president of Soccer Holdings. In his position, he helped form the 2021 Racing Louisville roster as well as the formation of Soccer Holdings’ youth academy. He’s played a major role for Racing this offseason as the club has undergone roster changes and hired Kim Björkegren as their next head coach.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Brad over the years,” O’Connor said. “He has brought so much to the organization and has played a huge part in our success with tireless work over the last few years. We wish Brad, his wife, Emily, and the rest of his family every success in the future. We are all better for having Brad work with us, and he will be missed.

“However, we are all determined to continue moving our organization forward to achieve even more success in 2022.”