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Atlanta United VP Paul McDonough named sporting director of MLS Miami franchise

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David Beckham looks to Atlanta for a key hire.

Atlanta United

The new MLS franchise in Miami - still yet to be named - is looking to put the pieces together for a glitzy, 25,000-seat soccer-specific stadium as it prepares for its first match in 2020. Before then, it’s looking to fill out its front office, and one of Atlanta United’s own has landed of the open jobs.

Atlanta vice president of soccer operations Paul McDonough has been hired as the David Beckham-led club’s sporting director, first reported by Ives Galarcep and confirmed by both clubs on Thursday morning.

According to a report from The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio, McDonough emerged as the “lead candidate” for the position a few weeks ago. It was clear that Beckham United has been impressed with how Atlanta have built itself to become one of MLS’ more attractive clubs in such a short period of time - with players like Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron leading the charge for a franchise that made the MLS Cup Playoffs in its first year and are currently leading the Supporters’ Shield standings past the midway point of its second year.

McDonough joined the club in 2016 as its director of soccer operations. In October, he inked a four-year contract extension that would have kept him with the team until 2022. Along with that, he received a change in title from his original one of director of soccer operations, as well as a presumed increase in overall responsibilities.

“It’s been a pleasure working alongside Paul for the past three years, and we wish him the best of luck in Miami,” said Atlanta technical director Carlos Bocanegra, according to ATLUTD.com. “We are in a good place at this point in the season, and our focus continues to be to perform at the highest level and work toward our ultimate goal of winning championships.”

McDonough has vast experience in helping launch MLS clubs (he was part of Orlando City’s initial staff as its senior VP of operations), so Miami will be hoping to tap into that as it builds its roster in the near future. Meanwhile, Atlanta are faced with filling a huge gap in its front office.