The incoming Miami MLS expansion team is in talks to make Atlanta United VP of soccer operations Paul McDonough their first general manager, a club spokesperson confirmed to MLSsoccer.com on Friday. The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio first reported the potential move.
McDonough joined Atlanta as the club’s director of soccer operations in December 2015 following two seasons as Orlando City’s GM. He was promoted to VP of soccer operations and signed an extension that runs until March 2022 last December. Sources indicated that if Miami hire McDonough away from Atlanta, there may be compensation to the Five Stripes.
Jorge Mas, a partner in the Miami MLS ownership group with David Beckham, told the Miami Herald on Monday that the team is negotiating with a GM with “extensive MLS experience” and that they expect to announce their hire by the end of July.
Along with club president Darren Eales and VP and technical director Carlos Bocanegra, McDonough has played a key role in quickly building Atlanta into an MLS power. He’s also been integral in constructing the club’s scouting network, overseeing development of their training ground and managing their salary cap.
McDonough first joined Orlando in 2014, leading the club’s technical staff as they moved from USL to MLS in 2015. He left the Lions weeks after they hired former Benfica academy director Armando Carneiro to lead their soccer operations that November, a move that essentially demoted McDonough. Carneiro lasted less than two months in Orlando. The club have never finished with more than the 44 points they managed in McDonough’s lone season in charge.
Atlanta will host D.C. United on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (3:30 pm ET on Univision and Twitter; MLS LIVE on DAZN).