The Quarterly Interview #31: Betsy Pollard-Maxfield


The American Betsy Maxfield is another great example of an outstanding professional graduated from the FIFA Master. Betsy started working in the sports industry straight out of university, when she joined, as an itern, the company headed by the legendary sports businessman Lamar Hunt, which at that time owned both the NFL team Kansas City Chiefs and the MLS team Kansas City Wizards (which later was renamed as Sporting KC). She eventually was promoted to a full-time position and worked at the company for another two years before enrolling in the FIFA Master. Although she was already working in sports, Betsy says that her decision to do the master was crucial for her career. “The master gave me a worldly view on sport and culture, which I didn’t have before. What you learn inside and outside the classroom is a game changer”, she explains.

Betsy joined the US Soccer Federation right after the FIFA Master, in 2003. She then went to work for the David Beckham Academy, in California, for four years, before returning to the Kansas City Wizards/Sporting KC, where she has been since 2009. Since her return, she has climbed several positions and now is the Director of Player Care at the club, where she works across the first team, the B team and the Academy. “I have two main priorities”, she explains: “Ensure new players settle and integrate in the shortest amount of time; and allow for their ‘on the field’ potential to be reached effectively and efficiently. We strive to remove off-field distractions so our players have one focus only: soccer”. Read more of the interview with Betsy Maxfield:


FMA Quarterly: What is the thing that you love about your job? And what is its biggest challenge?

Betsy Pollard-Maxfield: I love that no day is the same. On Monday I could be touring one-million-dollar houses for a 1st team player that we just signed, on Tuesday I am teaching a young African player about laws in the USA and Wednesday doing grade checks with our U15 team.  I get called “Mom” by some players and “big sister” by a lot of others. The biggest challenge for me is languages. It is my biggest regret.  I only speak English.  Currently we have players that speak Spanish, French, Portuguese and Hebrew. Thank goodness for Google Translate.


FMAQ: Do you still remember why you did the FIFA Master? Was it worthwhile for you?

BPM: I did it to differentiate myself from others.  I saw how many people wanted to get into “pro sports”, and soccer specifically, and I wanted to stick out from the crowd. I was determined to give myself the best opportunity to get all jobs I applied for. It was extremely worthwhile. I would do it again in a second. 


FMAQ: Are you still in touch with classmates or other alumni? How important is that network for you?

BPM: My classmates are part of my life on a daily basis.  We have a group chat that we send each other updates both personally and professionally.  Two years ago, there was a large group of us who celebrated our 15-year reunion with a cruise of the Mediterranean.  We all brought our spouses and children, and it was fascinating to see, at one point, that our children were playing cards and all “communicating” in four different languages: English, Chinese, French and Italian.

The other part of the FIFA Masters that is like no other program is connecting with alumni from different years.  A few months ago, there was nine of us who presented at a Soccer Conference at Princeton University.  This event became a small reunion and networking event for our own program.


FMAQ: Sport has traditionally been a “men’s world”. Is that changing? How so?

BPM: Yes, but slowly!  At my club there are now three females on the technical side (along with 37 males) and two females (along with 11 males) in executive roles on the business side.  The women’s league is more stable in the USA, which creates and solidifies hopes and dreams for little girls in my country.  I do think my club is more progressive than most in the MLS, and amongst other pro sports teams, so we are on the right path and that does feel good.



Betsy Pollard-Maxfield, American

Director, Player Care at Sporting Kansas City

Married to Ryan Maxfield; mother of Fiona (6) and Francesca (4)

FIFA Master Class: 2003 

Favourite sport: Soccer and watching my daughters participate in their sports

Favourite team: Sporting Kansas City

Favourite sport’s personality: None

Favourite sport’s moment: 1994 Men’s World Cup.  My mom dropped a friend and I off downtown Detroit Michigan and we attended the match without our parents.  USA tied Switzerland 1-1.