The MLS club preparing to launch in Miami doesn't yet have an official name, but their organization has taken the crucial first step in creating a roster. The club announced it has hired Paul McDonough as Sporting Director, effective August 4.
McDonough, most recently VP of soccer operations at Atlanta United, will be responsible for building Miami MLS's roster and leading its sporting operations while working closely with Managing Owner Jorge Mas and owner and President of Football Operations David Beckham.
"Paul is the first hire for our club and his appointment marks the real start of our journey in building, not only the team but also the team spirit of Miami MLS," Beckham said in a statement. "Paul's soccer experience is world class and he will help us to create a globally recognized team that we can all be proud of."
The hire is Miami MLS' initial foray in creating an identity. McDonough is likely to have carte blanche at establishing his on-field vision for the club.
“To be able to join the expansion franchise in Miami at its inception is truly exciting,” McDonough said in a statement. “I am looking forward to working with Jorge and the entire ownership group to build a team that represents the very best of soccer.”
McDonough has been with Atlanta since 2015, contributing to one of the most successful expansion franchises in league history. During his time with the Five Stripes, Atlanta signed stars such as Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez and Ezequiel Barco while opening Mercedes-Benz Stadium as well as a new training facility in Marietta.
MLSsoccer.com's Sam Stejskal reported in July that Atlanta may be in line for compensation from Miami.
"Paul played a critical role in the building of our club and we are very appreciative of his hard work and dedication in making Atlanta United a success," Atlanta United President Darren Eales said in a statement. "We wish him and his family all the best moving forward. With Paul’s impending departure, we’ve immediately begun a search to identify and evaluate potential candidates for the position. We’ll conduct a thorough interview process to ensure we find the right replacement."
Prior to joining Atlanta, McDonough worked for Orlando City during their transition to MLS. He led the club's technical staff before effectively being replaced by former Benfica academy director Armando Carneiro in 2015.
Mas indicated that MLS Miami will reveal its name, badge and colors in the coming weeks.