MILWAUKEE (Oct. 14, 2009)
- One of the most accomplished and respected individuals in American soccer returns to his roots today, as Peter Wilt becomes team president and chief executive officer of the Milwaukee Wave, Owner Jim Lindenberg announced.
Wilt, a Marquette University graduate and longtime resident of Whitefish Bay, is best known for a highly successful run as president of the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer from 1997-2005. But his first job in professional soccer was right here in Milwaukee, as Director of Marketing and Publicity for the Milwaukee Wave from 1987-90.
For the last three years, Wilt has guided the Chicago Red Stars of Women's Professional Soccer from their launch through their inaugural season this summer. In between the Wave and the Red Stars, Wilt worked in management positions with the Chicago Power of the National Professional Soccer League and the Minnesota Thunder of the A-League along with the Fire, and served on the United States Soccer Federation Board of Directors.
"I am honored to return to the club that launched my career in soccer management," Wilt said. "Jim Lindenberg's ownership and Keith Tozer's team leadership give us the opportunity to build on the Wave's long tradition of success. The Wave is not only the oldest pro soccer franchise in the United States, it also has a great history of success on the field and in the community. I'm excited to reconnect with the Milwaukee soccer community and the many Wave alumni who continue to make Southeastern Wisconsin their home. It is important that we continue to embrace the community and work together to grow the sport for everyone."
Wilt was the founding president of the Fire in 1997 and was named the MLS Executive of the Year that first season. The Fire won the MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup in 1998 and two more Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups under Wilt, while setting attendance and sponsorship records for soccer in the city of Chicago. Wilt also spearheaded efforts to build Toyota Park, the only 100 percent publicly funded MLS stadium.
He also led a group that sought to bring an MLS team to Milwaukee, securing a major partnership with the Wisconsin Youth Soccer Association in the process. With the Red Stars, Wilt arranged a similar partnership with the Illinois Women's Soccer League and negotiated a lease to play at Toyota Park.
"The Wave has a family and young adult audience that is unique among Wisconsin sports properties and can provide real benefits to the corporate community," Wilt said. "I look forward to working with Milwaukee's corporate leaders to develop mutually beneficial partnerships to grow the Wave and the Wave's sponsors."
Wave Owner Jim Lindenberg said: "I am very excited and proud to announce that we are able to hire Pete Wilt as president and CEO of the new Milwaukee Wave. Pete is going to be an important piece in helping us continue to save the Wave and spread the word of all the good the Wave does in the community. His experience, leadership and past success running soccer franchises are going to be a big help in saving the Wave."