CEO and Managing Director
Who We Are
board of directors
CEO and Managing Director
Dan is the Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Sporting Directors and is an Associate Professor in Sport Business at the Centre of Sport Business within the University of Liverpool Management School. Dan has extensive experience developing, leading and delivering executive education, alongside providing mentorship and research supervision for senior leaders in football.
Director of Football
Alistair is a Partner with the international search firm SRI. He has spent 10 years working with Ownership Groups, Professional Football Clubs, National Associations and Olympic sports on a range of technical and leadership appointments.
Joel is a UEFA A licensed coach, FA qualified Academy Manager and experienced Educator, with a Masters in Sport Directorship, he possesses a range of executive skills gained through various senior roles in football and education.
He is a Director of a football and educational consultancy specialising in football related academic programmes and delivery, leadership initiatives and strategic development to positively impact upon a variety of organisations and institutions.
Joel is also an experienced football practitioner as a FA Premier League and National Team Senior Scout, with elite coaching experiences as a Premier League Academy Head Coach and with England Women U23’s.
Iffy Onuora is currently the Head of Race Equality and Inclusion at the Premier League, having joined
in April 2021. This ground-breaking role comes with the huge responsibility of coordinating EDI
policies and programmes as well as embedding best practice across Premier League clubs.
Before joining the PL, he spent 9 years at the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) as a Regional Coach Educator and Equalities officer. He is a UEFA Pro Licence holder and his coaching career saw him manage both professional football clubs and national teams, including – Swindon Town
(2005–2006), the Ethiopia national team (2010–2011) and was part of the Coaching staff for the
England Under-21s (2018). He’s also a Match Delegate for referees in the Premier League.
Over a 15-year playing career, the forward played for Huddersfield Town, Mansfield Town,
Gillingham, Swindon Town, Sheffield United, Grimsby, Wycombe Wanderers and Tranmere Rovers where he cumulatively made over 450 appearances before moving into coaching and management.
Paul is the Host and Founder of the What The Footie Podcast, the football business podcast that goes behind the scenes in football. From the backroom staff to the board of directors, Paul speaks with the biggest agents, directors, deal-makers and decision-makers in the game. Outside of hosting his podcast, Paul is a Trainee Solicitor. He previously completed a 6-month secondment in the legal team at adidas where he worked on high-profile player, club and sponsorship agreements. He is also a Guest Lecturer at Solent University where he delivers sessions and online seminars to the Football Business and Sports Management students.
Professor Barry Drust
Barry is an Industrial Professorial Fellow at The University of Birmingham. He is an experienced academic specialising in the area of sports performance.
Barry has a particular interest in the development, preparation and performance of elite footballers. Published over 150 peer reviewed research articles and is invited regularly to speak at national and international conferences. Barry is also interested in the development of individuals working with scientists and industry practitioners to develop skills associated with problem solving and critical thinking.
He has successfully supervised around 40 doctorates using both traditional science-based models and more contemporary applied practice based strategies. Over a period of 20 years, Barry has also been involved in providing scientific support and expert consultancy services to elite football organisations. These include roles within teams within the English Premier League, Scottish Premiership and national football associations.
Head of Communications and Development
Polly has worked in football for over 15 years holding senior roles at The FA, UEFA, Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United.
She was also on the Women’s Board at Nottingham Forest FC and a Trustee of Albion in the Community.
She was responsible for developing Brighton and Hove Albion’s first Women’s Football strategy and is currently Head of Women’s Football at Manchester United.
Ross currently sits on the Technical Committee that represents Sporting Director members.
He has previously held Sporting Director roles at Watford, Huddersfield Town and Southampton.
Ross is currently Sporting Director and Board Member at Scottish Giants Glasgow Rangers FC.
Nick sits on the Technical Committee that represents Sporting Director members.
Nick is an experienced Sporting Director and football consultant who is currently working with Celtic FC in the Scottish Premiership at Head of Football Operations.
Rebecca sits on the Technical Committee that represents Sporting Director members.
Having spent numerous years working in Tennis, and football at Queens Park Rangers, Rebecca now operates as Head of Football Operations at Tottenham Hotspur and has been a key member of the executive team since 2015.
Furthermore, Rebecca is also a chartered accountant and holds a joint honours degree from Loughborough University.
Mark currently sits on the technical committee that represents Sporting Directors
He has previously held the role of Technical Director at Stoke City, and has over 30 years of experience in the game as player, agent and Technical Director.
Mark is currently the first ever Sporting Director for the United Soccer Leagues in the USA.
Matt currently sits on the Technical Committee that represents Sporting Director members.
He is currently Vice President of Global Football for Trivela Group, an American based multi-club investment firm.
Trivela Group recently acquired Walsall Football Club in the English Football League (EFL).
Prior to joining Trivela group, he worked in various front office executive leadership roles in Major League Soccer for 11 years.
He previously served as Vice President & General Manager for the Houston Dynamo, and Technical Director for the Montreal Impact in the MLS.
John is currently Co-President and General Manager of Los Angeles Football Club of Major League Soccer, who he joined in 2016.
Following his playing career, John worked as an Executive with the Major League Soccer Players Association and graduated with an MBA from Northwestern University.
Zoran is currently the Sporting Director at Charlotte FC, the newest Major League Soccer expansion club.
Previously Zoran was Owner and Director of a global sports agency based in London, Star Sports and Entertainment
Technical Committee: Abex Futebol Representative
Lee currently sits on the Technical Committee that represents Sporting Director members.
He is currently Head Of Strategic Analysis & Recruitment at Hull City Football Club, a club recently acquired by Acun Medya, a Turkish media company founded by Acun Ilıcalı.
He’s held various roles at Norwich City, Burnley and West Bromwich Albion, and has 30 years of experience in the game, including being a graduate on the 1st cohort of the The Master of Sport Directorship in 2017.
Paul is the currently the Sporting Director of AS Monaco.
Paul has held senior positions at Southampton, Tottenham and RB Leipzig before joining the Ligue 1 side in 2020.
Prior to that Paul was an English professional footballer who played as a defender or midfielder.
Stuart currently sits on the Technical Committee that represents the Sporting Director members.
He has previously held the Sporting Director role at Huddersfield Town and recruitment positions at Wolverhampton Wanderers, QPR and Liverpool.
Stuart is currently Sporting Director of Norwich City.
Dan has been a Technical Director for over 15 years at Club and National level at WBA, The FA and Brighton and Hove Albion. He was responsible for introducing formal qualifications for Recruitment and Technical Directors whilst the Technical Director at The FA and is currently the Sporting Director at Newcastle United.
Julian currently sits on the Technical Committee that represents Sporting Director members.
He has worked across international and club football for Preston North End FC, Manchester City FC and the Portuguese National Team.
In 2012 Julian joined Liverpool FC’s football operations team to support the club’s scouting, recruitment and player development strategy.
After approaching a decade at the club, Julian has recently been appointed Liverpool FC’s Sporting Director.
Gareth currently sits on the Technical Committee that represents Sporting Director members.
He’s held various roles across the professional game, most recently as Head of Technical Leadership at FIFA and GM for High Performance at New Zealand Football.
Currently a member of the Technical Advisory Board at the FAW and Technical Advisor for Professional Clubs Globally, Gareth is one of the authors for FIFA Technical Directors handbook.
Rich currently sits on the Technical Committee that represents Sporting Director members.
He is currently Sporting Director at Portsmouth FC.
Previously worked as Director of Football at Forest Green Rovers and differing levels of the English Football Pyramid, working with Tamworth, Macclesfield Town, Burnley, Wigan Athletic and Everton.
BA (Hons), MA, PGCHE, SFHEA, Head of Education, Ahead in Sport
Nicola has been delivering a global impact in Higher Education since starting her academic career in the UK in 2005 from being a passionate practitioner in the global sports events industry, working with sporting governing bodies, football clubs and more recently with FIFA and Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy on the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. Her current role is Head of Education for Ahead in Sport and Subject Matter Expert for the Josoor Institute in Qatar. She is also a mentor for the new “Women in Football” mentoring programme supporting and guiding aspiring women in football roles to achieve success in the football industry.
Director, Customer Solutions, Hudl
Ed is Director, Customer Solutions at Hudl. A familiar face to many ASD members, Ed spent over 11 years at Manchester City, holding roles including Head of Research and Innovation and Head of Performance Analysis.
Regional Director, Customer Solutions, Hudl
Austin is the Regional Director, Customer Solutions at Hudl. With a vast experience in player analysis following almost seven years with the Rugby Football Union and four years as Analysis and Insights Process Lead at The FA.
Prior to Okkulo, Mel has had a 20-year career within the sector of film and television. During his research into light intensity and the effects through the lens off a camera, Mel hypothesised and later proved that using differing ambient light levels in varying wavelengths, we could adapt and boost the visual processing and in turn the muscle economy of elite level athletes.
Forming Okkulo with the Newton Award winning visual scientist and former sports technology experts, Mel and his team pioneer the improvement of athletes, using the eye as a doorway to the brain and then in turn, the brain to the motor system, all confined within a contextual based training system.
Paul has worked across the Sports Technology industry for over 20 years, having worked at Prozone, Middlesbrough FC and Catapult. Paul set up his own consultancy company in 2021 to help start-up (and small sized) Sports Technologies companies grow.
Paul has worked as an advisor to Okkulo since November 2021.
CEO and Co-Founder, Zone7
As CEO and Co-Founder of Zone7 since 2017, Tal develops and applies proprietary artificial intelligence to help high performance teams from across the Premier League, NBA, NFL, LaLiga and Serie A to optimize workload, recovery and performance. Previously, Brown was Senior Director of Product Management at Salesforce, where he founded the organization’s first AI product team responsible for data science applications used by millions of sales professionals, generating revenue north of $100 million. Brown began his career as a Big Data Engineer in the Israel Defense Force’s Intelligence Corps and then worked as a Consultant and Solutions Architect at Oracle.
Performance Director, Zone7
Rich Buchanan is a Chartered Physiotherapist with a MSc in Football Rehabilitation, UEFA A football coaching licence, and several other sports performance & leadership certifications.
As Zone7’s Performance Director, Buchanan is responsible for overseeing client engagement and helping professional sports teams reach full functionality as they onboard, integrate, and use the company’s insights.
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@ASD_SportDir Mar 2023
Incredible stadium, hospitality, people and a very exciting young team ⚽️ https://t.co/fHRj8iYzWVFollow Us
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