With Atlanta United deep in the middle of its schedule in defense of 2018’s MLS Cup Championship, club president Darren Eales is a busy man.
He was in attendance at the 2019 Atlanta Sports Awards representing Atlanta United as a finalist for the Moment of the Year award, which went to the city of Atlanta for hosting Super Bowl 53.
In an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Eales spoke on several matters surrounding the club, including updates on kits for next season, season-ticket sales and plans for the acreage purchased next to the training grounds in Marietta.
Q: What were some of the decisions that went into to hosting the U.S. Open cup opening round game at Kennesaw State?
A: We’re really thankful to Kennesaw State because they helped us out, the reality is we were supposed to play the game in Charleston, then they weren’t able to find the venue. At the last minute, it was a very tight turnaround, Kennesaw State let us play at their stadium, so that was why we didn’t have any fans because we couldn’t get the security in time. For us, it was really important because we wanted to have the game, we didn’t want to go through by default. We wanted to go through on merit, to play a match and it was nice to get the goals.
Q: Thoughts on the change to an away jersey for next season?
A: So, what happens in the MLS is we change one jersey each year, this year we changed our home kit to the thinner stripes, this year we’ll have a new away jersey. That will get unveiled around February of next year.
Q: Before the international break, Frank de Boer mentioned the possibility of adding a player in the transfer window. What are the positions of need for the club?
A: So, we’ve got a window that opens around July 7. The transfer window, we have a month where we can bring players in. We’re always looking to improve our squad, any chance we can. We have a spot available if we want to bring someone in, but it’s all about finding the right player, making sure there’s someone that’s going to help the squad. We just want to have someone to add to the squad and give us depth.
Q: How many season-ticket holders did you all have this season and how many tickets per game did the team sell?
A: It still amazes me the fan base that we’ve got, it was 55,000 last year with the playoff games, that put us 10th in the world. So we’ve got over 36,000 season ticket holders, which is just incredible. Our renewal rate was 94 percent last year. That just shows you how exciting it is. We’ve actually got over 13,000 on the waiting list. Our waiting list for season tickets grows every single month. It really is amazing how much the fans around the state of Georgia have really gotten behind the team.
Q: Are there any updates on the plan for the acreage purchased next to the training facility?
A: That’s something that was an opportunity that became available and we’re still looking at the plans for that and when we’ve got something to announce we’ll let you guys know.
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