Chicago NISA Announces Front Office Additions

Chicago NISA Staff Doubles With New Additions To The Front Office
Published Feb 19, 2021

The Chicago NISA Soccer Club announced the hiring of three additional employees to its staff. Adrian Garibay will serve as the club’s Managing Director of Team/Event Operations & Administration, Steve Livingstone as the club’s Chief Revenue Officer, and Walter Nolan-Cohn as the Director of Marketing & Communications. These three hirings are effective immediately.

Livingstone, Garibay and Nolan-Cohn’s addition to the club doubles the staff as these individuals join Managing Partner, President & CEO, Peter Wilt, Chief Operating Officer Night Train Veeck and Technical Director & Head Coach, CJ Brown. The staff of six will continue to establish Chicago’s newest professional sports team in the market while working towards an August 2021 season kickoff as part of the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA). Fans can expect additional hires to be announced in the coming months.

“Adrian, Steve, and Walter are talented and experienced sports executives who will all ensure the high quality of the organization in their respective departments,” says Peter Wilt. “Adrian and Steve are tremendously respected and bring decades of soccer management experience. Night Train did well in identifying Walter for this key marketing and communications position. Walter brings a creative and fan focused background that mirrors this club’s approach.”

Adrian Garibay has been appointed Managing Director, Team/Event Operations & Administration for Chicago NISA. In this role he will be responsible for organizing and executing all team administrative/logistical needs, stadium and event operations, and will oversee human resources and related administrative functions for the club.

Prior to joining Chicago NISA, Garibay spent many years at the U.S. Soccer Federation where he held several roles including Director of Player/Referee Registration and most recently, Director of Competitions where he oversaw the approval of all international games and organized the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.  In 2016 he served as Head of Team Services for the Copa America Centenario Tournament which was held across ten cities in the United States. Garibay is also a certified FIFA Match Commissioner where he has previously been assigned by FIFA to work international matches/events as one of the match officials. Garibay served as Manager of Accreditation for the 1994 FIFA World Cup in Chicago. Widely recognized as the biggest sporting event in the world, the 1994 event was the first and only time the event has been held in the United States.

Prior to his career working in soccer, Garibay worked in the Office of Mayor Richard M. Daley as an Assistant to the Mayor. In this role he managed a wide range of projects from sports, tourism and special events to neighborhood development and infrastructure initiatives.  As a liaison for the Mayor’s Office to the City’s convention and tourism industry, Adrian facilitated the communication between sports/trade shows and the City of Chicago.

Garibay is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Political Science. Born in Mexico City, he moved to Chicago at a very young age and grew up in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood.

“Being a part of building a new professional soccer team in my hometown is something very special,” says Garibay. “Like many immigrants who grow up in the City of Chicago, I have always felt a responsibility to give something back to the community. I hope to do my part by bringing the passion and spirit of this city to this new team and share that in a real and meaningful way with a particular emphasis on communities of color!”

With almost 30 years’ experience in professional sports, Chicago NISA’s Chief Revenue Officer, Steve Livingstone has worked in all sectors of the sports industry, on both sides of the Atlantic, contributing to an impressive career with some of the world’s leading sports brands and organizations, including the National Football League, North American Soccer League, United Soccer League, Copa America, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jacksonville Armada FC, Scottish Claymores, Louisville City FC, Glasgow Celtic FC, and Hibernian FC.

Prior to joining Chicago NISA, Livingstone helped guide the USL’s Louisville City F.C. to significant growth in attendance, ticket sales and sponsorship revenue as a consultant and later COO during the club’s USL Championship-winning season in 2017. During this time, Livingstone was integral in the development of Lou City’s highly praised 15,000-seat Lynn Family downtown stadium project in Butchertown, while also advising several USL expansion franchises. In 2016, Livingstone helped direct the Copa America Centenario USA tournament as the managing director of the Florida venue at Camping World Stadium, Orlando. In this position, he directed the conversion of the Citrus Bowl in Orlando from an artificial pro turf surface to a FIFA/CONCACAF quality pitch.

From 2013 to 2016, Livingstone established and built one of the NASL’s most successful expansion clubs, Jacksonville Armada F.C. During the Armada’s Inaugural season, the club attracted an attendance of over 160,000, (averaging over 8,000 per match for 20 matches) and successfully partnered with over 70 local, national and international sponsors including Nike, Coca Cola and Winn-Dixie.

Livingstone emigrated to the United States in 2004, settling his family in Jacksonville, FL before beginning a nine-season appointment with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. With the Jaguars, he helped direct the club’s business development and marketing efforts from 2005-2013 and was responsible for generating over $50M in sales revenue annually. Livingstone led staffs that set record attendances and revenues for the Jaguars during the 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011 seasons. The Jaguars were also recognized consistently as the #1 team in the NFL for Fan Experience from 2005-2013.

Born and raised in the East End of Glasgow, Scotland, Livingstone began his professional sports career in media and journalism, where he was a soccer writer, producer and editor with several national media outlets from 1990-1996. He “jumped” the football fence in 1997 to join NFL Europe (formerly World League) Scottish Claymores, moving up through the organization to become the youngest general manager/managing director in the NFL at the age of 32. Livingstone produces a free subscription digital football weekly review newsletter on North American soccer called “On The Ball”.

“I'm tremendously excited by the opportunity to become part of the team bringing independent pro soccer to Chicago,” said Livingstone. “Working alongside Peter Wilt, C.J. Brown, Night Train Veeck and the rest of the Chicago NISA family is truly an honor and I can't wait for us to kickoff at SeatGeek Stadium in the fall, and to work closely with our supporters, partners, and community to help grow the club into another great sporting success for the people and the City of Chicago.”

Walter Nolan-Cohn joins Chicago NISA as the Director of Marketing & Communications. He will focus on driving the team’s marketing, advertising and promotional efforts and will work to build the team’s brand identity and footprint in the Chicago community.

He returns to his hometown after serving as the Director of Marketing for the Charleston RiverDogs Baseball Club by way of promotion from his position as the team’s Director of Community Relations in 2019. During his four-year tenure with the ‘Dogs, Nolan-Cohn gained valuable experience in marketing, partnerships, branding, content creation, public relations and community/fan engagement. Nolan-Cohn’s efforts contributed to team achievements including receiving the 2017 Bob Freitas Award (presented to the top performing Single-A MiLB team), setting a franchise attendance record during the 2018 season and most recently being chosen for the 2020 Minor League Baseball Award for ‘Best Marketing Campaign or Activation.’ Nolan-Cohn originally joined the RiverDogs after spending the 2016 season as a Marketing & Promotions Intern with the St. Paul Saints Baseball Club, the RiverDogs’ sister team under the Goldklang Group ownership.

Nolan-Cohn received his B.S. in Sports Marketing & Management from Indiana University in 2017. In addition to studying as a full-time student, he worked as a Marketing Coordinator with IU Athletics, coordinating event-based promotions, fan experience, and social media for all 24 Hoosier athletic teams on campus. Nolan-Cohn also gained valuable experience working with the Indiana Sports Corp, Big Ten Conference Championships and ESPN College Gameday during his time at IU.

Nolan-Cohn returns home to Chicago’s North Side where he grew up playing baseball while attending Lane Tech College Prep. During his High School years, Nolan-Cohn gained work experience with Wendella Boats on the Chicago River.

“As a lifelong Chicago sports fan I am excited and appreciative to become an influential part of the construction of the City’s newest team,” says Nolan-Cohn. “Although I left Chicago nearly a decade ago to pursue my education and career in the sports industry, my heart has remained in the city of my youth. I am excited to return and give the gift of soccer to people of all walks of life!”

WHAT’S NEXT?

Chicago NISA’s identity is expected to be revealed later this month. The club is in the final stages of its fan generated identity process billed as ‘Moniker Madness.’ More than 400 names were submitted last October and 68 of those have been narrowed to two finalists via fan polls and guidance from the club’s Fan Advisory Committee.

Chicago NISA’s identity comes down to either Chicago House or Point Chicago. Point Chicago honors founder of Chicago Jean Baptiste Point du Sable and Wolf Point, the junction of the branches of the Chicago River. Chicago House pays tribute to the city’s music, arts and cultural image throughout the world. It recognizes being a home for everyone who loves and identifies with the city and its future.