Elizabeth Cohen grew up in the UK as a huge Tottenham fan, but fell in love with New York and the US when she visited to intern at a hedge fund. Returning to the US after graduation, she made sure to stay connected to the game of soccer through charity work at a youth program called FC Harlem. It was there that she met many of the people who would eventually become her co-workers in MLS.
“I knew in the back of my mind that my love had always been sports, and football in particular, and I wanted to make that move at some point,” Cohen recalled.
Cohen joined the country’s top soccer league in 2014 and last year led the creation of a new business intelligence and strategy team. In doing so, he brought together four existing business units into a coordinated group designed to ensure that the league’s decision-making is driven by the voice of his fans.
“The role that we’re playing for the league right now is to make sure we have that really close point of contact with our fans,” Cohen said. “How do they feel, what are their interests, what do they think of the league and how are they evolving as a fan base and the different cohorts within that as well.”
Looking ahead, Cohen will play a key role in building the league’s strategy to make the most of the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup in North America, an event that soccer advocates believe will fuel the growth of the game. in the region. Fan feedback will continue to play a key role.
“We’re doing a lot of work in the background to make sure we’re bringing the event to life the way each individual fan wants to be served,” he said. —Alex Silverman
Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Intelligence, major league soccer
Born: Hong Kong, and then grew up in the UK from the age of 4
Education: King’s College London, BS, Business Administration
Family: Husband, Daniel; Evelyn (4); Leon (6 months)
More about Elizabeth
Guilty pleasure: It’s not exactly a guilty pleasure, but something I enjoy doing on the lighter side is going to the salon with my daughter. It’s always a fun and (somewhat) relaxing bonding experience.
My leadership style is inspired by…: A combination of mentors that I have been lucky enough to work with, as well as two big influences in my life, my father and my husband.
Proudest Career Achievement: Build a new centralized league business intelligence and strategy department made up of amazing, hard-working people.
I wish I had known at the beginning of my career: You don’t need to know your exact career path on day one. As long as you are open-minded, true to yourself and hungry to learn, you will find the perfect role that aligns with your skills, talent and personality.
Change I would make in relation to women working in sports: Continue to reduce the stigma associated with openly discussing different approaches for women to balance building a successful career and raising children.
Early Passion and International Exploration
Elizabeth Cohen’s early years were marked by her fervent passion for soccer and her allegiance to Tottenham. However, her journey took an unexpected turn when she embarked on a trip to New York, interning at a hedge fund. The vibrant energy and limitless possibilities of the city captivated her heart, leading her to fall in love not only with the US but also with the world of soccer across the Atlantic.
Fusing Passion with Purpose
Upon graduating, Cohen’s love for soccer drew her back to the US, where she remained deeply connected to the game through her charitable endeavors at FC Harlem, a youth program. This marked the beginning of a journey that would eventually intertwine her passion for the sport with her professional pursuits. Her aspiration to bridge the gap between her career and her love for soccer was a driving force that would shape her trajectory in the coming years.
A Strategic Vision for the Future
Cohen’s pivotal moment arrived when she joined Major League Soccer in 2014. In a league known for its ever-evolving landscape, Cohen’s impact was swift and profound. As the architect of a revolutionary business intelligence and strategy team, she orchestrated the integration of four distinct business units, aligning them with a unified vision to empower fan-driven decision-making.
Amplifying the Fan Voice
Cohen’s strategic acumen was reflected in her approach to creating a cohesive fan-centric strategy. She recognized the invaluable role fans play in shaping the trajectory of the league. Through data-driven insights and meticulous analysis, Cohen’s team ensured that the league’s decisions resonated with the pulse of its devoted supporters. Her emphasis on understanding fan sentiments, interests, and preferences became the bedrock of MLS’s future-oriented strategies.
Driving Success through Collaboration
Collaboration lies at the core of Cohen’s strategy. By fostering cross-functional unity, she has harnessed the power of diverse perspectives to propel MLS towards unprecedented heights. Cohen’s team-building prowess is evident in her ability to bring together professionals from various backgrounds, enabling them to work synergistically to revolutionize the league’s approach to growth and innovation.
Leading the Charge for the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup
As the world eagerly anticipates the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup in North America, Cohen’s strategic prowess takes center stage. This monumental event is poised to elevate soccer’s popularity in the region to unprecedented levels. Cohen’s strategic orchestration is pivotal in ensuring that every fan’s experience is exceptional and tailored to their preferences. The intricate fusion of data-driven insights, innovation, and fan feedback lays the foundation for an event that will reverberate through the annals of soccer history.
A Glimpse into the Leader: Elizabeth Cohen
Elizabeth Cohen’s journey from Hong Kong to the UK and eventually the US epitomizes her global perspective and adaptability. Armed with a BS in Business Administration from King’s College London, she has seamlessly merged her academic insights with her passion for soccer, forging a path that defies convention and embraces innovation.
A Personal Touch
Beyond her professional achievements, Cohen offers a glimpse into her personal side. An experience that brings joy to her heart is visiting the salon with her daughter, providing them both with cherished bonding moments. Her leadership style is a mosaic of influences, drawing inspiration from mentors and the profound impacts of her father and husband.
The Pinnacle of Achievement
Cohen’s proudest career achievement lies in creating a centralized league business intelligence and strategy department. Comprising dedicated and talented individuals, this unit embodies her commitment to innovation, collaboration, and driving the league forward.
A Valuable Lesson
Reflecting on her journey, Cohen imparts a lesson she wishes she had known at the outset of her career: the importance of remaining open-minded, true to oneself, and continuously hungry for knowledge. The dynamic nature of her career path serves as a testament to the value of embracing change and pursuing growth relentlessly.
Championing Women in Sports
As a prominent woman in the world of sports, Cohen aspires to challenge stereotypes and promote discussions about striking the right balance between a successful career and raising a family. Her commitment to normalizing such conversations and reducing stigmas is emblematic of her dedication to enhancing opportunities for women in the industry.
In an era defined by innovation and fan-centric strategies, Elizabeth Cohen stands as a trailblazer who has redefined the intersection of soccer, strategy, and business intelligence. Her vision, leadership, and dedication resonate through every facet of her journey, shaping the landscape of soccer for generations to come.