Jeff Stonebreaker, CSSP, Senior Vice President of Safety and Security for Major League Soccer (MLS), will be presented with the Milton E. Ahlerich Distinguished Leadership Award during the 2022 National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition on June 28-30 in Orlando. The event is presented annually by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at The University of Southern Mississippi.

The Milton E. Ahlerich Distinguished Leadership award recognizes a professional whose career includes multiple achievements and contributions to sports safety and security.  

In his current role, Stonebreaker oversees security standards and policy development for MLS as well as international matches, Supporter Group Management, the Soccer Security Agent program (Compliance), and Integrity initiatives. He has also been significantly involved in venue design standards and has worked with several new venues as MLS continues to grow.

After serving 31 years in law enforcement, Stonebreaker retired as a Major from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Orlando, Florida. Stonebreaker worked as a Security Advisor to the England Football Association for ten years spanning over 50 matches in 22 countries, including the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine. He also served in the Florida Army National Guard in an Infantry Scout unit for ten years.

Stonebreaker co-chaired the DHS Commercial Facilities Sector Sports Leagues Subsector Council, which connects the major sports leagues and large sporting events. The collaboration and collective knowledge of the group has been invaluable as everyone continues to adjust to the new normal in a post-pandemic landscape. He was also instrumental in bringing a reporting hotline to fruition for MLS. The work around a formal Gambling Policy led to a need for anonymous reporting, which expanded to encompass a spectrum of potential issues, not just gambling. This has evolved into a process of reporting, case management, and effective follow-up that will allow for all voices to be heard and issues to be addressed.

“I was both humbled and very appreciative upon learning of this award. I have always believed the job is about bringing people together and forming relationships that allow effective communication,” said Stonebreaker. “I have been a longstanding proponent of a risk-based, intelligence-led model to event safety and security. Getting the right stakeholders to collaborate and have their voices heard is key to a solutions-oriented approach. Event safety and security supports a wide cross-section of deliverables, from broadcast and communications to marketing and guest experience, as well as brand and reputation management.”