Major League Soccer Executive Javier Leon ’88 Talks with Students During Athenaeum Lunch

By Stephanie Goldberger ’12

He went from investment banking to Major League Soccerand helped launch Chivas USA in 2004. For students like myself who are learning about the qualities of entrepreneurship in the classroom, Javier Leon’88 stands as a great example. Leon returned to CMC in early April to share his experiences in sports management and to offer advice on achieving success in business. His visit was sponsored by the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance at CMC.

During his lunch address at the Athenaeum, Leon outlined his post-CMC life in three phases: as a master’s student in international management at the University of California, San Diego; as a specialist in equity capital markets in New York City; and as a CEO in Major League Soccer (MLS). Connecting with current CMC students who are working through college to pay off tuition and any loans, he reflected on the many weekends, during his junior and senior years at CMC, that he drove to his job in San Diego. His dedication to that job, as well as the skills he developed after 12 years in investment banking, gave him the footing that he needed to transition into the sports industry at an executive level.

It was on his groundbreaking work as Chivas USA’s first CEO and, currently, as managing director of Andell Sports Groupwhich owns Major League Soccer team Chicago Firethat Leon focused his talk. In 2004, he helped to launch Chivas USA as Major League Soccer’s 11th team and to market it in connection with its sister team, Club Deportivo Guadalajara of Mexico. After three years with Chivas USA, he was offered the opportunity to join Andell Sports Group, a family management firm. He has since been involved in hiring the Chicago Fire’s management, and in marketing the team to Chicago’s Hispanic community. Just recently, he established a partnership between the Fire and Quaker Oats that made Quaker Oats the team’s 2012 jersey sponsor.

Javier Leon not only provided a positive analysis of MLS and hope for soccer as a rising sport in the United States, but also reminded students that hard work and passion can lead them to a personally rewarding management role in their industry of choice.

About Javier Leon

Javier Leon spent 12 years in the investment banking world as a managing director for Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and ING-Barings. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College and a master’s of International Management from the University of California, San Diego.