HARRISON, NJ (January 10, 2024) – With a continued commitment to elevating the player experience and a continued focus on strategic roster building, NJ/NY Gotham FC today announced the expansion of the club’s soccer operations management team. Gotham FC updated the title for Saara Hassoun from Chief of Sporting Operations to a larger, more-encompassing designation as Chief of Staff. The club also welcomes Zayne M. Thomajan as Chief Soccer Officer, stepping into the roster-building role formerly held by Nathán Goldberg Crenier, who is campaigning on the ballot for U.S. Soccer Federation Vice President.
Hassoun and Thomajan will report directly to Gotham FC General Manager and Head of Soccer Operations Yael Averbuch West. Thomajan will join Gotham FC in her official capacity at the club’s NWSL Draft table on Jan. 12 in Anaheim, California.
“By expanding our management team, we are able to provide an elevated experience not only for our players, but for our technical staff as well,” said Averbuch West. “We are incredibly excited to have Saara and Zayne as we continue to grow Gotham FC as a premier club.”
Hassoun joined Gotham FC in June 2023 as Chief of Sporting Operations and was a part of the 2023 NWSL Championship run. As a reflection of her increased responsibilities over the course of last season, Hassoun’s title shift to Chief of Staff now encompasses her leadership of all soccer operations department heads, management of staff and player well-being, and direction of daily business operations on the sporting side of the club.
“I am incredibly excited to continue building on the success of last season, which was so crucial in creating a foundation for the club to build on for the future,” said Hassoun. “We are excited for what lies ahead, and we look forward to establishing Gotham FC as a top destination for players and staff.”
Before joining Gotham FC, Hassoun co-founded HT Sports Consulting, a consulting firm with a mission to elevate athletes’ well-being through data-driven insights, and athlete-first methodologies. At HT Sports Consulting, Hassoun had the unique opportunity to combine her passion for women’s sports with her deep understanding of project management. Hassoun also worked as a management consultant, where she grew her expertise in project management and organizational strategy.
Prior to Hassoun’s professional career, the Austin, Texas native earned a master’s degree in Innovation, Strategy, and Organisation at the University of Cambridge. Additionally, she is currently a Global Sports Fellow at Harvard University, where she conducts research on approaches to player well-being in professional women’s soccer. For her undergraduate studies, Hassoun earned a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science at the University of Southern California.
As Gotham FC continues to make waves in roster composition, the club has also brought on Thomajan as Chief Soccer Officer to continue advancing the strong foundation established by Averbuch West and outgoing Assistant General Manager and Chief Soccer Officer Goldberg Crenier.
“My time at Gotham has been such a rewarding adventure, as we laid the foundation to make NJ/NY the world capital of women’s soccer and delivered the club’s first NWSL trophy,” said Goldberg Crenier. “I can’t think of anyone better prepared to continue that work and fulfill the club’s ambitions than Zayne, and I feel confident that, with her in this role, we will look back at our 2023 championship as the first of many.”
As Chief Soccer Officer, Thomajan will work to develop and implement various strategies for the sporting side of the club, including player acquisition strategy and execution, salary cap management, and leading the club’s scouting and analytics departments.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining Gotham FC,” said Thomajan. “It’s an incredibly momentous time for the club, and I look forward to working with the players and staff to achieve more success and contribute to the club’s growth within the global soccer landscape.”
Thomajan joins Gotham FC from Major League Soccer club Austin FC, where she helped lay the foundation of the club’s sporting side, first team, and reserve team (Austin FC II) prior to its inaugural season. She most recently served as Austin FC Senior Manager of Business and Soccer Operations as well as simultaneously serving as the club’s Special Assistant to President and Sporting Director. While working with the Sporting Director, Thomajan assisted in salary cap management and roster management, as during her tenure, Austin FC advanced to the Western Conference finals in only the club’s second season of existence, and Austin FC II became 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Champions in its very first season.
Thomajan’s work earned her recognition in Sports Business Journal’s New Voices Under 30, Class of 2022, and she was an honorable mention for Axios’ 2022 Power Players list for Austin.
Before embarking on her career in professional soccer, Thomajan graduated with an Economics degree from Harvard University, where she helped the women’s soccer team to an Ivy League championship in her sophomore season and was named captain in her senior season.
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