As preseason training camp begins for OL Reign and the rest of the NWSL, it comes with a significant change in OL Reign’s senior management. Teresa and Bill Predmore, founders of the club, announced Wednesday they will be stepping down from their respective operational roles in the next month but will retain their minority stake in the club.
“Our decision to depart at this time marks the conclusion of a planned, two-year process to transition club operations to OL. Nevertheless, our decision to leave the club that we love so much was extremely difficult to make. We leave the club and the league with pride in what we helped create and with great optimism for its future,” said Bill Predmore in the club’s announcement.
Vincent Berthillot, who joined the club in 2020 as Chief Operating Officer and has effectively served as OL Groupe’s eyes and ears in the region, has spent the last two seasons learning the many intricacies of the NWSL. He will succeed Bill Predmore as OL Reign’s CEO, and has been based in the Seattle region since 2020.
“I have appreciated the chance to work with and learn from Bill over the past two years. I thank him for his support, as his knowledge of team and league operations was incredibly helpful in preparing me for my new role with the club. I am now fully prepared to take on this challenge and look forward to this exciting NWSL 10th season back in Seattle, where the club’s history started,” said Berthillot.
Berthillot’s move up to CEO will focus on the club’s day-to-day business operations. While Predmore as CEO also was involved in roster moves, this transition of power will result in the creation of a dedicated General Manager role, which Predmore told Ride of the Valkyries that a search for has commenced. Predmore also shared that OL Reign players were informed of the changes early on Monday.
Then-called Seattle Reign FC was founded in 2012. In 2016, the Reign Academy was founded, and Teresa Predmore has served as president of the academy, which now serves nearly 300 players across the region. Notable graduates of the academy include Harvard/US Youth National Team defender and US Soccer Council member Smith Hunter, Oklahoma midfielder Sakky Yoshida, and UCLA/US Youth National Team goalkeeper Neeku Purcell.
“Bill and I would also like to express our gratitude to the OL Reign Academy staff and coaches, who have worked so hard to create a truly unique experience for young female soccer players in the Pacific Northwest. And of course, we both want to thank all the incredible athletes—and especially Lu [Barnes], Jess [Fishlock], and Pinoe, who have been with the club since day one—for their many sacrifices and efforts on the field, and for their dedication and leadership off the field to help us build something truly special in Seattle.”
According to Equalizer Soccer, Predmore says they are spending time deciding on their next move, which will likely be in the soccer space.
While the Predmores are stepping down from their organizational roles, they will continue to hold their minority ownership share of the club and transition into being ambassadors of OL Reign. It’s understandable and natural to wonder what their departure means for the future of the club.
When the club announced in December their return to Seattle and more importantly, moving into Lumen Field as their permanent home stadium, it was OL Groupe who led negotiations and secured the deal. Since that announcement, ticket sales appear to be very strong, exceeding the club’s forecast at this point. The club exceeded 2021 numbers within 3 days of tickets going on sale. This is an optimistic sign given that the NWSL Challenge Cup and regular season schedules are yet to be revealed.
“We appreciate [The Predmores’] dedication to the club and their efforts to facilitate a seamless transition to our full leadership. During these two years, Bill and Teresa have been investing their time and energy alongside with us working for the long-term success of OL Reign and the NWSL,” added Sophie Sauvage, who has represented OL Reign at the NWSL Board of Governors since OL Groupe’s acquisition of the club in 2020. Sauvage served on the temporary NWSL Executive Committee that oversaw the league after Lisa Baird’s exit in October. That committee dissolved after Marla Messing joined as interim league CEO.
The changes at this high of a level at OL Reign are likely a shock for fans. However, the Predmores want to assure fans that this transition is not a reaction to the tumult of 2021 where an overdue spotlight was cast on the lack of a safe space for players past and present in the NWSL. This has always been the plan when OL Groupe acquired the club.
“Over the last two years, we have seen first-hand how committed OL is to the growth of the women’s game and to the future of OL Reign. We have witnessed the approach they take as one of the best club operators on the planet. Teresa and I will depart knowing the club is in capable hands,” said Predmore.