Garth Lagerwey, in his second day on the job as Atlanta United’s CEO and president, was honest, funny and forthcoming during his introductory news conference Tuesday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

His task, he said, is to create sustainable success for a franchise that he said started “like a phoenix” with three trophies in the first three years before stumbling and missing the playoffs in two of the past three seasons.

“That requires a foundation, and that requires a methodical kind of block-by-block approach to building this thing up,” he said. “This is a great opportunity, and it’s one that I think has limitless potential, so just can’t wait to get started.”

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Lagerwey stressed that his job as CEO is to make everyone around him better. He has a track record of success on the soccer side of previous stops at Real Salt Lake and Seattle, where clubs he ran won three MLS Cups and a Champions League.

“He is a winner,” said Steve Cannon, CEO of Arthur M. Blank Sports and Entertainment.

Lagerwey was selected after what Cannon described as a worldwide search that was whittled to seven candidates. Lagerwey’s name was one suggested by dozens of people, according to Cannon, as soon as Darren Eales announced his resignation as Atlanta United’s president in August to become CEO of Newcastle in England’s Premier League. Cannon said a search firm was used and that owner Arthur Blank was involved. Lagerwey will be expected to help Atlanta United consistently compete for trophies, run a financially sound business and make a positive impact in the community.

“I feel like we’ve done all the right things that will position this club for a future of success,” Cannon said.

Lagerwey said the process happened quickly. Having not run the business side of a franchise before, he said if he was asked about something that he didn’t know, he would say so, but stressed that he would figure it out.

“I think there’s a ton of positives here,” he said. “When you look at the talent within the group, you look at the talent on and off the field in terms of the personnel, there’s so many things to be excited for. I mean, the fan base, the enthusiasm for the team, the support that they’ve had historically, I just think there’s just not a lot of downside here.

“So my job is to come in and to be thorough ... really try to do a deep dive, try to understand both the business and the soccer aspects of the organization. And then once we’re prepared and once we have all the information we need, then to go forward and make decisions.”

Among the other highlights of Tuesday’s introduction:

Lagerwey has had conversations with Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra, but the two haven’t had a face-to-face meeting. Lagerwey said he hasn’t been part of conversations about the future of striker Josef Martinez and that he hasn’t had a chance to research player contracts, either.

Lagerwey hinted that the club’s scouting and analytics may be improved. Because of his past experiences as an attorney, he said he is a big believer in data and objective evidence.

“Maybe that’s an area where there’s an opportunity to build out,” he said. “Again, probably premature to say that without having been there for more than one day. But that’s definitely something we’re going to roll up our sleeves and get in. And, certainly before we start spending vast amounts of money, I certainly want that to be supported by evidence and data and not just my opinion coming from the West Coast.”

The club will continue to try to develop and sell talent. Lagerwey said he has no template for Designated Players. Though Seattle wasn’t considered a big-spending franchise when Lagerwey was hired there ahead of the 2015 season, it still won two MLS Cups and the Champions League. He said he hasn’t been told that money can’t be spent to acquire players at Atlanta United, which is considered one of the bigger spenders in acquiring talent in MLS, with tens of millions spent to acquire players such as Martinez, Miguel Almiron, Ezequiel Barco, Pity Martinez and Thiago Almada. Lagerwey said he will examine the process to see how the money is being spent and if it can be spread around.

“Just means that we’re trying to maximize our resources because if you maximize your resources in a salary-cap system, that’s going to get you more good players,” he said. “If you have more good players, you’re probably going to win more games.”

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