Atlanta United loses key front-office member

Paul McDonough, Atlanta United’s director of soccer operations, resigned to accept a job with Miami’s MLS franchise.

McDonough’s contract with Atlanta United will end Aug. 4.  Miami compensated Atlanta United for McDonough, but the terms weren’t disclosed.

He has played a key role in the development of two expansion franchises. He started with Orlando before resigning and later accepting a position in December 2015 with Atlanta United, where he oversaw the construction of the $60 million training facility in Marietta, as well as contracts for players. He was promoted to vice president and signed a four-year contract extension in October 2017 after Atlanta United became the first expansion franchise since Seattle in 2009 to advance to the playoffs.

“Paul recently informed the club of his decision to accept an offer to become the Sporting Director at Miami MLS,” Atlanta United President Darren Eales said. “Paul played a critical role in the building of our club and we are very appreciative of his hard work and dedication in making Atlanta United a success. We wish him and his family all the best moving forward. “

The team has started searching for McDonough’s replacement, according to Eales.

It’s not clear when, or if, Miami’s franchise will begin play. The franchise, led by David Beckham, had had numerous issues over several years securing land to build a stadium.

“Paul is the first hire for our club, and his appointment marks the real start of our journey in building not only the team but also the team spirit of Miami MLS,” Beckham told the Miami Herald. “Paul’s soccer experience is world-class, and he will help us to create a globally recognized team that we can all be proud of.”

McDonough is the second front-office member to leave Atlanta United for what would be considered a promotion. Ann Rodriguez, formerly vice president, left to join the WNBA as a senior vice president in July 2017.

“We’re proud of the club we’ve assembled in such a short period of time, both on-and-off the field, and I think it speaks volumes about Atlanta United to have our personnel selected to further advance their respective careers in executive positions,” Eales said. “We never want to lose great people, but we understand that it’s the nature of the business, and we will continue to be supportive of our staff when they are presented with opportunities to advance.”