Leadership Team

Jessica Berman

Jessica Berman | Commissioner

Jessica Berman was named Commissioner of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in 2022. Under Commissioner Berman’s leadership, the NWSL has risen as a global force in professional sports. Key achievements include significant growth in viewership, attendance, revenue, investment, and fan engagement. 

In 2023, Commissioner Berman announced landmark media partnerships for domestic media distribution with CBS Sports, ESPN, Prime Video and Scripps Sports, generating record breaking distribution and revenue for the NWSL and marking a key turning point for league viewership. Notably, starting in the 2024 season, there are over 120 games that can be watched on national broadcast platforms.  

The NWSL continues to build momentum under Commissioner Berman. Between the 2022 - 2023 season, game attendance increased by 32%, and crowds of 10,000+ more than doubled, setting the average attendance record in 22 years of women’s professional soccer in the U.S. To date in 2024, social media followers are up 198% since 2023, and the January transfer window led to a record 22 players joining the NWSL from the world’s best leagues.  

Commissioner Berman led the league's expansion to 15 clubs, established record valuations and reset the enterprise value of the franchises by more than 10 times. She also navigated the NWSL through a comprehensive internal investigation into abuse allegations, resulting in substantial culture reforms. 

In 2024, Berman was named a CNBC Changemaker, and her leadership contributed to the NWSL being named number five on Fast Company’s list of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2024. Berman was also recognized as Sports Business Journal's Best Hire in 2022 and was named Executive of the Year by Sports Business Journal in 2024, the first woman so honored in the history of the award. 

Previously, Berman was Deputy Commissioner at the National Lacrosse League as the first female deputy commissioner of a men’s professional sports league, and she spent 13 years at the National Hockey League, where she contributed to collective bargaining and drove community engagement and growth. Prior to that she was a labor lawyer at Proskauer Rose LLP. 

A University of Michigan alum and Fordham University law graduate, she is on the alumni board of the UM Sport Management Advisory Board and the Fordham Sports Law Forum Alumni Board. She is on the Board of U.S. Soccer and is on the UJA Sports for Youth Committee. Jessica lives in Larchmont, New York, with her family and rescue dogs. 

Julie Haddon

Julie Haddon | Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer

Julie Haddon joins the NWSL after spending five years at the NFL, where she most recently served as the Senior Vice President of Global Brand and Consumer Marketing overseeing some of the most successful, award-winning marketing programs of all time. At the NFL, she spearheaded innovative brand campaigns surrounding the organization’s tentpole events from the Super Bowl to the NFL Draft, to the league’s social justice brand initiatives and legalized sports betting fan engagement. In addition, Haddon led strategies to grow audience viewership and consumption for Thursday Night Football, NFL Network programming, and NFL Digital products, including NFL Fantasy, GamePass and Mobile. She also founded and served as the executive sponsor of NFL Pride, the league’s first-ever LGBTQ+ group, committed to advancing efforts around diversity, equity and inclusion.

Prior to her work with the NFL, Haddon held a variety of senior Marketing leadership positions, including at DreamWorks Animation where the studio received its first-ever Academy Award for an animated feature film for the studio’s hit feature SHREK. She also led global social media at eBay, where she built the company’s first-ever Social Media Business Unit, and later oversaw social media at Zynga through their historic IPO in 2011. As consultant, Haddon was part of the early team at Twitter in 2008, and in 2012 reprised her role at SoFi, taking them to market and leading SoFi’s Marketing team as the company transitioned from startup to a billion-dollar organization. 

As an investor, Haddon joined the Chicago Red Stars ownership group in 2021 and divested from the club prior to assuming her role at the league office. She is currently on the Board of Directors of FuboTV, a sports streaming service, and TOCA Football, the largest tech-enabled soccer training facilities and entertainment venues worldwide.

Haddon attended Indiana University where was a member of the Big 10 champion Hoosiers Softball program. She resides in California with her wife and three children. 

Tatjana Haenni

Tatjana Haenni | Chief Sporting Director

Prior to her appointment at the NWSL, Haenni served as the Director of Women’s Football at the Swiss Football Association (SFA) where she was responsible for all women’s soccer affairs, including development of talent and player pathways, organization and administration of SFA elite leagues across all age groups, and management of the competitive, commercial and financial growth of women’s soccer in Switzerland.  

Prior to her position at SFA, Haenni spent more than 18 years at FIFA, where she most recently served as deputy director and head of women’s competition, overseeing all aspects of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and devising strategies surrounding competition formats, tournament and match policies and regulations, development programs and legacy initiatives. Haenni began her sports business career at UEFA where she was responsible for all competitions and development projects on the women’s football side, including the organization of the Women’s European Championship.  

A former member of the Swiss National Women’s Football Team and a UEFA ‘A’ coaching license holder, Haenni served as both coach and president of FC Zurich Frauen, previously known as SV Seebach. She has also served as a football expert and coach educator for the Swiss federation.  

Haenni received her MBA in sports management at the University of Bayreuth in Germany.  

Lauren Lopez

Lauren Lopez | Chief People and Culture Officer

Lauren Lopez joined the NWSL from The New York Times, where she served as the company’s first Senior Vice President of Talent Management. While at The Times, Lopez oversaw career and learning development, performance enablement and inclusion strategies.

Prior to joining The New York Times, Lopez served in a variety of roles with the National Basketball Association, including most recently as Head of Talent and Engagement where she focused on planning and execution of several human resources initiatives including employee relations and experience, organizational design, year-end performance models and career path development.

Lopez also served as Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Inclusion for Condé Nast, overseeing the talent strategy across the organization’s portfolio of brands, and held HR roles at NBCUniversal, S&P Global Market Intelligence and Bloomberg.

Lopez earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and completed Graduate Studies in Human Resource Management at Mercy College.

Sarah Jones Simmer

Sarah Jones Simmer | Chief Operating Officer

Sarah Jones Simmer joins the NWSL following decades as an executive, operator and investor. She was most recently the CEO of Found, one of the largest medically-assisted weight loss programs in the U.S. that leverages the best of modern medicine, personalized coaching, and community to help its members achieve lasting weight loss. 

Prior to joining Found, Jones Simmer was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Strategy Officer at Bumble, where she played a critical role in Bumble’s acquisition by private equity leader Blackstone, and shepherded the company through its IPO in 2021. During her tenure at Bumble, she was responsible for core strategy, international growth, marketing initiatives, business operations, and employee growth. She also led investment strategy for the Bumble Fund, Bumble’s early stage investing vehicle focused on the next generation of female-led businesses. 

Jones Simmer is a regular speaker on behalf of her companies, and on leadership topics more broadly. She has spoken at Dreamforce, SXSW, Techcrunch Disrupt, Traction, the Global Partnership for Education, and UN special sessions on topics ranging from venture investing to girls’ and women’s rights to the future of ethical business, and the challenges and opportunities of scaling rapid growth businesses. 
 

Jones Simmer will be based out of the league’s New York headquarters. She earned a Masters in Public Policy from Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree from The University of Cincinnati.  

Bill Ordower

Bill Ordower | Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer

Bill Ordower joins the NWSL from the law firm ArentFox Schiff LLP, where he was a partner. Prior to his time at the firm, Ordower spent 23 years at Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing in various capacities including operations, player personnel, legal and business. He most recently served as MLS’s Executive Vice President of Business Ventures spearheading the league’s sports betting strategy and prior to that served as the league’s General Counsel.  

Throughout his tenure with MLS, Ordower was instrumental to the organization’s growth including its commercial and media strategy and expansion surge to 30 teams. He also functioned as a key member of the collective bargaining team, created and implemented the MLS Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program and conducted league investigations regarding tampering and player-related issues.

A St. Louis, Missouri native, Ordower graduated from Boston University with a degree in English and earned his law degree from The George Washington University Law School. He resides in New Jersey with his wife, three children and three dogs.