Paul McDonough - Atlanta United - front office
Atlanta United

Paul McDonough returns to Atlanta United as vice president of soccer operations

Paul McDonough has joined Atlanta United as the club’s vice president of soccer operations, they announced Tuesday, marking his return to the Five Stripes after helping build the roster that brought them the 2018 MLS Cup.

McDonough was available after stepping down in early December as Inter Miami CF’s chief operating officer and sporting director. It was his third expansion project in MLS, having also shaped Orlando City SC when they entered MLS in 2015. In Atlanta, he will help the club navigate the MLS salary cap restrictions and help navigate various different acquisition mechanisms.

“Paul was a key part of our team as we built Atlanta United and we’re delighted to have him back in the organization,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said in a release. “Thanks to his experience across all levels of American soccer, Paul brings a vast knowledge of the game, but more importantly he is a great cultural fit who complements our front office. Similar to his previous role with the club, Paul will report to vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra and take on a leading role in managing our player salary cap.”

McDonough’s addition continues a busy offseason for Atlanta, who previously hired Gabriel Heinze as head coach. Heinze will look to steer the Five Stripes back to the heights they reached under McDonough and former head coach Tata Martino. Heinze arrives in MLS after leading Velez Sarsfield for several years.

While with Miami, McDonough helped establish their youth academy, USL League One affiliate and first-team roster. He also managed the construction of the team’s training facility and Inter Miami CF Stadium. They made the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s No. 10 seed, but quickly exited and fell short of both internal and external expectations.

“A lot more goes into building a professional soccer club than simply assembling a roster,” Bocanegra said in a release. “Paul has a skillset that effectively touches all areas of the club and it complements the staff we have in place.”