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).