Gotham FC has named Yael Averbuch West the club’s new interim general manager and head of soccer operations, the club announced Tuesday.
Averbuch West, a former United States women’s national team and NWSL player, ended her playing career with the Seattle Reign in 2018. She was drafted fourth overall in 2009 by Sky Blue FC, now Gotham, in the since-folded Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league and won a championship with the club her rookie year. Since retiring from the field, the 34-year-old has served as the executive director of the NWSL Players Association, a union she helped create in 2017.
“I’m very excited about this role and look forward to supporting the continued success of Gotham FC on the field,” Averbuch West said in a press release. “This was my first professional club as a player and is my hometown club, so it’s close to my heart. I can’t wait to get to work.”
Gotham has also appointed Kristin Bernert, co-founder of KB2 Sports, as the interim head of business operations and Stephanie Lee, former general manager of the Utah Royals, as interim assistant GM.
Averbuch West will take over the GM position from Alyse LaHue, who was fired from her post in early July following an investigation into a violation of NWSL policy. The league has been tight-lipped on the firing, sharing with The Equalizer’s Dan Lauletta that any NWSL findings will remain private.
“Following a complaint, the league conducted an investigation and shared the findings of that investigation with Gotham FC,” said an NWSL spokesperson. “Those findings will remain confidential and the league will not comment further on individual club personnel matters.”
LaHue’s tenure with Gotham included a successful club rebrand and an appearance in the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup final. The club, formally known as Sky Blue FC, was in turmoil when LaHue took over as GM in 2019, plagued by off-field controversy, sub-par facilities and poor results on the field. Gotham FC’s remarkable turnaround under LaHue’s guidance has been lauded as one of the most successful in NWSL history.
Averbuch West takes over at Gotham FC amid a solid regular-season campaign, with the team second in the league standings and a playoff spot well within reach.