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Rapids set new standard by hiring woman as director of player personnel

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Ena Patel is now the highest-ranking female executive (on the technical side) in Major League Soccer.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Colorado Rapids Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids announced their final Front Office hiring this morning: a new Director of Player Personnel. What’s special about this particular hiring is that Ena Patel is a woman, and is now the highest-ranking female executive in MLS on the technical side. (It’s also worth noting that Megan Cameron just accepted a similar position as Assistant Director of Player Personnel with Sporting Kansas City.)

As Director of Player Personnel, Patel will oversee player contracts, salary budget, regulatory compliance, and soccer operations protocols. She holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Southern California, a Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School, and a Master of Laws in Taxation from Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law.

Executive Vice President & General Manager Pádraig Smith is very happy about what Patel can bring to the club. “Ena’s hiring is the final piece of the puzzle for us on the front office side,” said Smith. “Bringing in a sharp, legal mind who can oversee our contractual processes and complex league mechanisms is a really important part of ensuring that we’re fielding the best possible team. We can’t wait for her to get started.”

Most recently, Patel was an associate at DLA Piper LLP and Baker McKenzie in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she advised clients in international tax planning, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations and restructurings.

Patel feels that this is a great professional opportunity. “I’ve been interested in making the jump to professional sports for some time and very much appreciate the support shown by everyone – including my friends, family and former employers,” she said. “The opportunity to be a part of a club with an ambitious vision for the future is very exciting, and I can’t wait to get started. It’s easy to see that this is a club with a very bright future.”

Welcome to Colorado, Ena!