Atlanta United president Darren Eales will soon leave the Major League Soccer club to become the CEO of English Premier League side Newcastle United, the Five Stripes announced Friday.
He’ll remain with Atlanta United through Aug. 8 and join Newcastle United on Aug. 22.
Eales has led the Five Stripes since they joined MLS as an expansion club in 2017, helping steer a club that routinely ranks among the highest attendance-wise across the league. They won MLS Cup in 2018 and also captured US Open Cup and Campeones Cup titles in 2019.
“Darren Eales is one of the best hires I’ve made in my career and the strength and success of Atlanta United to date is a credit to him not only as a leader, but as a passionate footballer,” owner Arthur M. Blank said in a release. “I’m thrilled for Darren to have this new opportunity to lead Newcastle and I see it as a very positive reflection of Atlanta United and what our club has achieved in such a short time.
“Darren is more than ready to lead Newcastle and I know he’ll be an outstanding leader of that club. He leaves with my deepest respect, admiration and very best wishes for him, Faith and their two beautiful sons.”
Eales was originally hired in September 2014 after serving as executive director at Tottenham Hotspur, another English Premier League club. The 49-year-old is from England and also worked in West Bromwich Albion’s front office.
"It has been the adventure and honor of a lifetime to help build Atlanta United,” Eales said in a release. “I will always be grateful to Arthur Blank, both for giving me the initial opportunity, and for providing unparalleled support and leadership throughout the journey.
“I have been privileged to work with an amazing team of people who rolled up their sleeves and made a vision into reality. And I have loved being a part of this vibrant city, with its brilliant, passionate supporters. Thank you, Atlanta, and thank you 17s."
Under Eales' leadership, ATLUTD brought in head coaches Tata Martino, Frank de Boer and Gabriel Heinze in their early years. They're currently led by Gonzalo Pineda and sit 10th in the Eastern Conference standings.
Atlanta have also signed MLS's three most expensive incoming players in Thiago Almada, Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martinez – attacking midfielders from Argentina whose transfer fees reportedly totaled a combined $46.5 million.
Newcastle United are now led by a consortium that’s spearheaded by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund. Their roster includes former Atlanta United star and two-time MLS Best XI midfielder Miguel Almiron.