USL Memphis Sporting Director Andrew Bell
MEMPHIS, Tennessee – USL Memphis has named Andrew Bell, formerly of the Charleston Battery, its inaugural Sporting Director, team President Craig Unger announced Monday.
Bell, who has spent nearly 20 years with the United Soccer League’s Battery, will be tasked with handling all player and technical staff-related decisions and building the USL Memphis Front Office with the team’s 2019 debut one year away.
“We are excited to take this first step in building a world-class franchise,” said Unger. “Andrew brings tremendous experience on both the technical and business side of soccer, and his knowledge, passion, and dedication to the game is exactly what we need as we get ready to bring professional soccer to AutoZone Park.”
“Memphis is a remarkable city, and the opportunity to help build what I'm certain will be an amazing soccer Club was too big to pass up,” Bell said. “I'm excited to start working on the project, and I can't wait to meet the fans. The commitment of our ownership group is going to allow us not just to be part of the amazing growth of professional soccer in the United States but also to create something really special here in Memphis.”
“Charleston’s operation has a fantastic reputation in the soccer world from top to bottom,” soccer legend and USL Memphis Advisor Tim Howard said. “Having Andrew join the Memphis staff brings instant credibility to the organization and sets it up to hit the ground running.”
A native of Wokingham, Berkshire, England, Bell began working for the Battery as its radio play-by-play announcer in 1999 after moving to the United States in 1995. He served in a variety of roles for the team, including Director of Marketing, Director of Sales, and President, which was the role he held most recently from 2008 until moving to USL Memphis.
During his tenure as Battery President, the club won two USL championships in 2010 and 2012 and advanced to the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2008, which was the last time a non-Major League Soccer side played in U.S. Soccer’s national championship match.
Off the pitch, Bell was instrumental in a revitalized fan experience at Charleston’s MUSC Health Stadium, including significant investments in stadium infrastructure such as a 3,000-square-foot videoboard, an English-styled pub called The Three Lions Club, sky boxes, and state-of-the-art media capabilities. For the team, recent renovations to the stadium included new locker rooms, a gym, enhanced athletic training facilities, and a practice field designed to replicate the playing surface at the stadium.
Bell was instrumental in bringing many high-profile clubs to Charleston for friendlies, including Rangers F.C., West Bromwich Albion, Portsmouth F.C., and Bolton Wanderers, in addition to many MLS sides for the club’s annual preseason tournament, the Carolina Challenge Cup.
A lifelong soccer player, although he played Rugby League for the University of Bradford while earning a BSC in Archaeological Science, Bell is a lifelong supporter of Reading F.C.
Bell was an Honorary Commander for two years with the 437th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Charleston, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Palmetto Military Support Group.
About USL Memphis
USL Memphis was unveiled on Jan. 8, 2018 and will begin play at AutoZone Park in Downtown Memphis as part of the United Soccer League in 2019. USL Memphis, led by Principal Owner Peter Freund, President Craig Unger, and Sporting Director Andrew Bell, is part of a market that includes over 8,000 youth soccer players, an established American Outlaws chapter, and strong collegiate programs. Upon joining the USL, the Memphis club will be part of a southern radius that includes 10 teams within 500 miles of each other.
About the USL
The USL, headquartered in Tampa, Fla., is one of the most prominent Division II professional soccer leagues in the world, reaching a population of more than 75 million people to fuel the growth of professional soccer across North America. A growing league, the USL has more than doubled in size since 2014, with Ottawa Fury FC, Reno 1868 FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies debuting in 2017. Nashville SC, Fresno FC, Las Vegas Lights FC, North Carolina FC, Indy Eleven and ATL UTD 2 are set to join the league for 2018, with Birmingham, Alabama, Austin, Texas, El Paso, Texas and Memphis, Tennessee set to join the league in 2019. Beyond league play, the USL regularly features international exhibitions against leading Premier League, Liga MX, and Bundesliga clubs, among others.