Photos Courtesy of the LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy Split Business Operations from Soccer Operations – Tom Braun to lead Business Ops

The LA Galaxy announced that Tom Braun would be heading up the Business Operations of the club as AEG and the Galaxy separate out the sporting side from the business side. Braun will be named the President of Business Operations and Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Alongside Braun, who was the former Senior Vice President for Soccer & Business Operations and Business Development for the Galaxy, Urel Martinez has been promoted to Chief Revenu Officer (CRO). They’ll join up with Will Misselbrooke – Chief Creative and Brand officer to comprise the LA Galaxy Senior management team and will lead all of the business operations.

Greg Vanney – LA Galaxy Head Coach and Technical Director – will still report directly to Dan Beckerman and will head the soccer operations side of things. Making Vanney and Braun Co-Presidents of sorts.

The move was announced in a press release by AEG President Dan Beckerman on Wednesday morning.

“We are excited to formalize this new structure that will provide tremendous opportunity to key members of our proven leadership team with the LA Galaxy,” said Beckerman. “Tom continues to rise as a business leader in our organization, and along with Urel and Will, we are confident will enhance our internal culture and lead our business operations strategically forward in new and innovative ways. We are confident this executive team will have the best interests of our loyal, passionate fans in mind while helping elevate our business to new heights.”

Beckerman relieved former President Chris Klein of his duties on May 30th after the Galaxy started the season with just two wins over their first 14 games. During that time Klein was also dealing with a supporter boycott in reference to him retaining a multi-year contract extension in the offseason and after being suspended by the league for a cheating scandal with regards to the illegal classification of a player — Cristian Pavon.

The moves were not unexpected, and AEG stayed within the organization to fill the vacancies even though there was a lot of interest from outside of the organization to fill the presidency (Sports Business Journal).

Braun was previously the SVP for Soccer & Business Operations and Business Development. His promotion seemed to be in line with how the Galaxy wanted to operate things in the future.

Rumors swirled after Klein’s dismissal that AEG thought the job was too big for one single person and having a business and sporting side seemed to alleviate those fears.

Vanney’s role is completely unchanged. Charged with laying the groundwork for a revitalized front office that included a functioning scouting department, new analytics programs, and tying the academy into the first team, Vanney has always been more than a head coach.

Braun, much like Vanney on the soccer side, will oversee and lead all day-to-day operations with regard to the business side of the Galaxy. He’ll report directly to Dan Beckerman.

Braun was responsible for the design and launch of the inaugural Coachella Valley Invitational – the preseason tournament hosted by the Galaxy on the fabled Coachella concert grounds in the desert of Southern California. He was also responsible for the organization and execution of the Soccer Champions Tour in 2022. That tournament included a four-city tour by Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Juventus, Club America, and Chivas de Guadalajara.

The good and the bad news for the Galaxy is that for all intents and purposes, the day-to-day operations won’t change. And really all the announcement did was make official what was already happening at the club level.

The Galaxy have hitched their wagon to Greg Vanney as a head coach and soccer side expert, and while he’s made what seems to be massive progress in the infrastructure of the club — adding departments that have long been coveted by every head coach since Bruce Arena — he’s struggled on the field.

The 2021 Galaxy barely missed the playoffs, the 2022 side used a late-season surge to finish 4th in the conference, and the 2023 side currently sits 13 of 14 teams in the West but just five points from a playoff position. If results matter, Vanney is on the cusp of being run out of town.

Braun will have to figure out how to gain market share in a competitive LA market while dealing with a club intent on struggling into the playoffs.

Braun and Vanney have massive amounts of work to do.

The moves, in general, aren’t very imaginative. But on a team that has struggled for years to get the front office right, naming an organizational flow that really remains divided almost seems like an upgrade.

But what will happen if a deal intersects with business and the soccer side? That remains to be seen.