The Colorado Rapids have announced two significant front office promotions, including Pádraig Smith to executive vice president and general manager and Wayne Brant to senior vice president of business operations.
Smith, who assumes the club’s top executive post, will also continue to oversee all soccer operations for the club, while Brant will maintain responsibility for all day-to-day business areas of the club.
“For both Pádraig and Wayne, these are well-deserved promotions,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, Matt Hutchings. “They have managed this transition period very well, and given their combined knowledge and experience, we look forward to watching them guide this club to success both on and off the field.”
Prior to joining the Rapids in January 2015, Smith spent the previous three years with European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, and previously worked for the Football Association of Ireland (FAI). Smith was a key figure in UEFA’s Financial Analysis Group, which assesses the top professional European clubs in the areas of finance, corporate and sporting structures.
Smith also served as head of finance for the FAI from 2010-2011 after joining as internal compliance officer in 2007. While in that role he introduced the first mandatory salary cap in European league soccer and chaired the long-term strategy group charged with implementing a fully integrated football development and competition pyramid in Ireland.
Since coming on board with the Rapids, Smith has played a significant role in numerous key acquisitions, including Designated Players Kevin Doyle, Shkëlzen Gashi, as well as TAM-level acquisitions Stefan Aigner and Jack Price. Smith also oversaw the team’s head coaching search, which ultimately led to the appointment of former New Zealand national team Manager, Anthony Hudson. He also represents the Rapids on various MLS committees including the MLS Technical Committee. Smith graduated with a degree in Business from Dublin City University in 2001.
“I’m delighted about the direction we’re heading as a club,” said Smith. “I want to thank the Kroenke family and the KSE executive management team for the opportunity to lead this club. Both Wayne and I will do everything in our power to bring another MLS Cup to our supporters and the Colorado community as a whole.”
Brant, one of the longest-tenured Rapids employees, has been with the organization since 2007 and was instrumental in bringing the 2015 MLS All-Star Game to DICK’S Sporting Goods Park as well as numerous high profile international matches. Rising from director of marketing to senior director of fan development and then to his most recent role as vice president of business operations, Brant was a key figure in the recent appointment of head coach Anthony Hudson and will oversee strategic communications initiatives, as well as marketing, fan experience and match presentations for the club. In addition to representing the club at league meetings, Brant also oversees the club’s fan advisory council. A New Jersey native, Brant graduated from Temple University in 2005 with a degree in Sports Management.
“I’m grateful for the faith shown in both Pádraig and myself by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment and am very enthusiastic about our club’s future,” said Brant. “The popularity of Major League Soccer is at an all-time high, and we look forward to representing our terrific fans in the best possible way.”
Image courtesy Colorado Rapids.