The Unstoppable Rise of Women’s Soccer

Soccerex USA 2019

The Studio | 21 November 2019 | 2:00 PM - 2:40 PM

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From record attendances and increased participation levels to ground-breaking sponsorships and the drive for equal pay, the global spotlight on women’s soccer has never been greater, nowhere more so that in the US following the USWNT’s record breaking victory in France. The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup has undoubtedly helped propel the game to new heights, both in terms of audience and commercial value but what needs to be done to ensure that the tournaments legacy is fulfilled? At Soccerex USA, senior figures in the women’s game in the US and around the world gathered to analyse at the impact of this summer’s tournament on areas such as participation, professionalization, media rights and tacking inequality.

Suggested for: Clubs & Rightsholders, Commercial & Sponsorship, Broadcasting & New Media, Social Responsibility


Amanda Duffy

Amanda Duffy is the President for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Duffy joined the NWSL in January 2017 and oversees all aspects of day-to-day operations for the league.

Duffy was a driving influence with the development of NWSL Media – the league’s marketing, broadcast and commercial arm – as well as successful launch of the historic partnership between the NWSL and Lifetime.

Duffy previously worked for Louisville City FC – rising through the ranks of the United Soccer League (USL) club which she joined as the vice president of operations in October 2014 before being promoted to general manager in December 2014 and ultimately being tapped to serve as president in November 2015.

She also spent more than seven years at the league headquarters for the USL, where she worked in a number of roles – including strategic planning, league management, player registration and coordinating referee developments and assignments.

Duffy was the director of operations for USL PRO from 2007-2010 before she transitioned to become the senior director for the W-League, a position she held through 2014.

Prior to her time in sports management, Duffy enjoyed a playing career that saw her graduate East Carolina University with single-season and career records for goals as well as the career record for points. She was inducted into ECU’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

She went on to compete in the W-League for three seasons and won a league championship in 2003 before playing in the Swedish 1st Division in 2006.

Yael Averbuch
NWSL Players Association

Yael Averbuch grew up in Montclair, NJ and played college soccer at the University of North Carolina, where she won 2 NCAA National Championships. She went on to play professionally for 10 seasons following that, all over the U.S., internationally, and has represented the U.S. Women's National Team. Alongside her playing career, Yael launched, Techne Futbol, aimed at helping players to create their own individual relationship with the game and achieve their goals. Yael is also currently the Executive Director of the NWSL Players Association.

Karina LeBlanc
Head, Women's Football

Karina LeBlanc is Head of Concacaf Women’s Football since August 2018. The former Canadian international leads the Confederation’s efforts to strengthen and grow the women’s game throughout the Concacaf region.

In her role, LeBlanc focuses on developing women’s football throughout the entire Concacaf region increasing opportunities for women in the sport across multiple areas including through grassroots and competitions platforms, refereeing, development, and administration. She is be based in Miami, Florida and reports to the Chief of Football Officer Manolo Zubiria.

Born to Jamaican and Dominican parents and raised in the Caribbean island of Dominica, her family then moved to Canada where Karina learned to play football. LeBlanc is a retired football player and a FIFA Legend. Throughout her career, she represented Canada for almost 18 years participating in five FIFA World Cups, two Olympics and three Pan-American Games. She was a member of the bronze medal winning team at the London Olympics in 2012. In 2013, she became the first female professional footballer to be appointed as UNICEF-Canada Ambassador.

From goalkeeper to host, broadcaster and motivational speaker, she has travelled across the world to raise awareness about the game as well as the importance of women’s empowerment, especially through the sport.

Joe Barnes
Sports Marketing Director

Joe Barnes is Sports Marketing Director at Anheuser-Busch InBev and leads marketing efforts across NFL, NHL, Soccer, and E-Sports partnerships. Joe has been with ABI for 6 years and graduated from Indiana University.

Jeff Kassouf (Moderator)
The Equalizer

Jeff Kassouf is the founder of The Equalizer (, the leading site for women’s soccer news an analysis in the U.S. since 2009. His passion for growing women’s soccer has been a constant throughout his career. Previously, he worked at NBC Sports, where he covered the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada, in addition to two Olympics Games as part of Sports Emmy-winning teams. He also served as digital liaison to NBC’s award-winning Premier League TV coverage. He was FourFourTwo’s first-ever U.S. editor.