Atlanta United hires Paul McDonough as director of soccer ops

Paul McDonough will join Atlanta United as director of soccer operations, team technical director Carlos Bocanegra said on Wednesday.

McDonough comes to Atlanta United from Orlando City SC, where he was general manager. Orlando recently completed its first season in MLS. Atlanta United will begin play in 2017.

McDonough joins Bocanegra as the first soccer-side hires for owner Arthur Blank’s franchise.

McDonough will oversee management of the club’s soccer operations, including first-team player budget, equipment, training ground operations and security, team travel and administration. He is scheduled to start in January after the MLS combine is held in Florida.

In addition to his experience working with an MLS expansion franchise, McDonough also brings experience with the league’s rules and regulations from an agent’s perspective as well as a club perspective, which are some of the things that Bocanegra said will help Atlanta United try to get off to the best start possible.

“He will be a huge boost for us and will compliment (team president) Darren (Eales) and my skill sets well,” Bocanegra said.

McDonough and Orlando SC agreed to part a week ago, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

While at Orlando, McDonough drafted MLS rookie of the year Cyle Larin and Latino player of the year Darwin Ceren. The Lions were in the playoff hunt until the final season’s final week.

Bocanegra said he will never comment on any speculation regarding potential coaches and players. In the past two weeks, there have been reports citing anonymous sources tying the club to Columbus assistant and Atlanta native Josh Wolff as a potential coach, and Mexico’s Marco Fabian and Spain’s Cesc Fabregas as players.

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