Major League Soccer’s newest franchise continues to put the building blocks in place as Atlanta unveiled their new club president.
On Wednesday it was announced that the current Executive Director of Tottenham Hotspur, Darren Eales, will lead the new MLS team ahead of their entry to North America’s top-flight in 2017.
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Eales has plenty of previous experience in the U.S. having played at Brown University and being named as an All-American forward before going on to play professionally with the Hampton Road Marines, Hershey Wildcats and the New York Centaurs. Recently he worked in a legal capacity for West Bromwich Albion in 2010 before joining Spurs in his current capacity.
Speaking about his decision to leave the Premier League for MLS, this is what Eales had to say.
“Soccer is a lifetime passion of mine, and to have the chance to come to Atlanta and build a club from the ground up is extremely exciting,” said Eales. “I’m going to have the rare experience of getting to know the fans from the outset, and I’m eager to engage them in the process, from naming the team to creating an incredible atmosphere at our matches. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to have the support of a respected owner in Arthur Blank and the chance to field a team in a brand new state-of-the-art facility. MLS is going from strength to strength, and really making its mark, so it’s a privilege to be part of its expansion. I’m looking forward to being a part of MLS Atlanta and helping to make this a great success story.”
Eales has been influential in the sale of several top players to MLS in recent seasons, with Jermain Defoe, Clint Dempsey and Robbie Keane all leaving Spurs with his say so. The new MLS franchise also revealed that over 5,300 people have signed up for the Founders Club season ticket program, which has resulted in 15,500 seats already being reserved.
His experience at Spurs overseeing the clubs “overall soccer strategy, succession planning, player acquisitions, performance analysis, first team administration, player development, academy and medical supervision” mean he’s the ideal man to take over in ATL as the club starts to assemble a front office ahead of their entry to MLS in 2017.
Eales’ arrival is the first major step for MLS’ 22nd franchise and given his experience in England’s top-flight and background in the USA, it’s a very promising one indeed.