Last month, Inter Miami CF scored a youth soccer coup when it announced the hiring of Juan Carlos Michia and Victor Pastora, formerly of Weston FC, to lead the team’s youth academy. On Friday, the club added to the ranks, poaching Javier Morales from FC Dallas’ U-13s side.
Jason Kreis, the former Major League Soccer most valuable player and a former manager for Real Salt Lake, New York City FC and Orlando City SC, will head upstairs and join Inter Miami CF as a consultant to the team’s technical department, headed by sporting director Paul McDonough.
Fútbol Miami MLS confirmed through its Twitter account Wednesday morning that Paul McDonough, formerly of Atlanta United, will be joining the team as Sporting Director.
“Paul shares our dream for making Miami the League’s Global Team,” co-owner Jorge Mas said through the team’s Twitter account. “And is uniquely positioned to recruit and develop the talent on and off the field to make this a reality.”
“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 released by the club. “We wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”
Reaction to the hire was generally positive.
— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) August 2, 2018
— Gabriel Gabor (@MLSGabor) August 2, 2018
Paul McDonough loves him some expansion action. Good luck to the former Orlando City man (but it’s Miami, so not TOO good of luck). https://t.co/DCM9sBl2Cy
— The Mane Land (@TheManeLand) August 2, 2018
According to Paul Tenorio of The Athletic, Fútbol Miami MLS appears to have a favored candidate for its general manager position, and it’s a name that will be familiar to those interested in Major League Soccer expansion clubs: Paul McDonough, Vice President of Soccer Operations for Atlanta United.
Earlier this month, co-owner Jorge Mas told local media that he anticipated a hire for the general manager position by the end of August. That would mean the franchise is already in the late stages of the search process. Tenorio’s report indicates Fútbol Miami MLS wants an expansion specialist. If that’s the case, McDonough may be the perfect hire.
Before joining Atlanta in January 2016, McDonough was hired by Orlando City of then-USL. McDonough and Adrian Heath (manager) were brought in to shepard the team into the highest ranks of American professional soccer. While the results on the field have not been perfect, the growth of the Orlando project (specifically the growth of fan support within the city and ticket sales) became a model for teams around the country.
One year later, McDonough jumped ship to soon-to-be rivals Atlanta United, in a hire announced in December 2015.
McDonough has received specific credit for the development of Atlanta United’s youth academy, which is now widely considered one of, if not the best, youth soccer academy in the United States. Fútbol Miami MLS has previously insisted that the club will be based around a strong youth program. The team wants to tap into the talent available in South Florida.
Prior to joining the front office of clubs, Paul McDonough spent two years with Wasserman (previously known as the Wasserman Media Group, or WMG) as Director of Global Soccer. In that role, he represented professional soccer players in MLS and abroad. Prior to that, he spent three years at Santio Sport + Entertainment as director of recruiting. His soccer career began on the field, where he worked as an assistant coach at Wake Forest University (1999-2001), the University of South Carolina (2001-2002) and the University of Connecticut (2003-2009).