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How Brandon McCarthy went from MLB pitcher to USL sporting director: "It's drinking through a firehose"

McCarthy's journey from the mound to a front office role in lower-division soccer is a wild one.

8 min read
Design: Peyton Gallaher

“The offseason is the rest of my life.”

That’s what Brandon McCarthy said after announcing his decision to retire from professional baseball back in 2018. McCarthy’s MLB career lasted more than a decade and spanned seven Major League Baseball teams, including the Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

While the former pitcher’s golf game had never been better, McCarthy couldn’t stay away from professional sports for long. In fact, he’s currently working inside a front office… just not in the sport you might think. Six years after the end of his playing career, the 40-year-old is running the sporting department for second-division American soccer club Phoenix Rising. 

How does a professional baseball player end up as the sporting director for the reigning USL champions?

Here’s how.

McCarthy stepped out of his car after arriving at Rising’s stadium and training facility at 38th and Washington back in January. A few hours earlier, Jurgen Klopp had just announced his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the Premier League season. As one of the biggest Liverpool fans on this side of the Atlantic, McCarthy was in mourning. 

“I dressed in all black on that day. It was a true funeral. From head to toe in black,” he told Backheeled.

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