In soccer, the prospects for women in positions of authority at the highest levels have been rare. Kathy Carter has announced her intentions to run for the vacant U.S. Soccer president’s seat. At the moment, she is the only female amid the eight candidates. Among the 211 countries affiliated with FIFA, only four women have ever presided over a soccer federation.
When Lynn Berling-Manuel was named the Chief Executive Officer of the United Soccer Coaches (formerly the NSCAA), she became the first woman to hold that post in the 75-year history of the organization.
In the offices of Major League Soccer over the last eight years, Meghan Cameron was often the only female in meetings with up to 40 men in the room. As a Senior Manager of Player Relations, she was one of four individuals that shared the responsibility of assisting each team with their salary budgets which is no small task in MLS. One of the teams in her stable was Sporting KC.
On Monday, Sporting KC named Cameron the Assistant Director of Player Personnel – the first female to manage player contracts for a team in MLS.
“I dealt with her on a daily basis for a significant period of time,” said Peter Vermes, the Manager and Technical Director for Sporting KC. “Her response time was always fantastic as was her attention to detail. In this business, you snooze, you lose. You have to find solutions to issues quickly. All those things are really good with Meghan.”
“This is the best organization in my opinion with my skill set and personality,” said Cameron. “I’ve had to know the budget guidelines inside and out at MLS and tried to get involved in as many areas as I could.”
In addition to her responsibilities to the teams she assisted, Cameron created the Rookie Symposium, managed the Homegrown Game from its inception and supervised the MLS partnerships with the French Football Federation and La Liga coaching education platforms.
“Several teams inquired about Meghan, she had developed a good reputation,” said Lino DiCuollo, the Senior Vice President for Competition and Player Relations at MLS. “She had to manage six or seven teams. I encouraged her to stay here if she wanted but she has opened a new chapter with one of the top organizations in the league.”
Cameron was a premier forward out of Roxbury High School in New Jersey earning a scholarship to perform at Rutgers University. Her playing background will be instrumental for her new position which demands the identification of players who fit into the Sporting KC system.
“If I talk soccer with her, she knows – she’s got soccer knowledge,” said Vermes. “Over time, it is going to be a really important aspect for her to understand. Anyone I bring in on the technical side has to be around the senior team to get a really good idea of what we want. Even though our criteria are written down, you need to get an impression with your eyes. She’s going to get thrown into the fire in pre-season.”
Both Vermes and DiCuollo are New Jersey natives and were All-American forwards at Rutgers.
“It doesn’t hurt that she went to Rutgers,” said Vermes. “I’ll tell you, a Jersey attitude lends itself to this business. You’ve got to have an attitude that bends but doesn’t break.”
“A Jersey attitude,” said DiCuollo. “I don’t think that hurts.”
The prospect of finding herself as the lone woman in a room again does not deter Cameron. She was selected by Vermes due to her unique aptitudes while also breaking an MLS barrier.
“It’s really cool but hopefully, I’m not the last woman in a position like this,” said Cameron. “They saw me as the best person for the job. I’m a Jersey girl and have thick skin. I can give it back if I need to.”