Garth Lagerwey emphasizes that ‘buck stops with me’ as he’s introduced as Atlanta United CEO and president

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The Sounders weren’t a steppingstone for Garth Lagerwey. He shed his lawyer by commerce tag and proved to be a high quality MLS govt when, as normal supervisor, he pieced collectively the Real Salt Lake group that received a league championship in 2009 and reached the CONCACAF Champions League closing in 2011.

But when Lagerwey was lured to Seattle to be the membership’s normal supervisor and president of soccer, it was recognized the stint seemingly wouldn’t be everlasting. And in 2019, it was evident Lagerwey couldn’t use his debating expertise to maneuver his dream job in Seattle — president of a whole soccer group.

That pinnacle was reached when Atlanta United introduced final week they employed Lagerwey as their CEO and president. He was introduced to media Tuesday at his new soccer house, Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“It’s a unique job and it’s a completely totally different talent,” Lagerwey mentioned of why he left the Sounders, the place he was the architect behind two MLS Cup titles (2016 and 2019) and a CCL championship in May.

“(The Sounders place) isn’t the CEO function and it’s not one that they’ve and it’s not one that they’re going to have,” Lagerwey continued of the construction majority proprietor Adrian Hanauer established. The Mercer Island High alum was the Sounders GM till Lagerwey was employed in 2015 and Hanauer relinquished some business-side duties in 2019 when Peter Tomozawa was named president of enterprise operations — a gap that may’ve created Lagerwey’s all-encompassing place.

“To Adrian’s credit score, he was all the time open with me about that,” Lagerwey mentioned. “Like, ‘If you wish to transfer ahead in your profession, that alternative very seemingly received’t be right here.’ It’s simply not the way in which Seattle is about up and as lengthy as Adrian is there, I don’t know that they want it. They’ve had phenomenal management on the enterprise facet, simply as Atlanta United has. This is a step ahead for me, to have the ability to are available in and run the enterprise and soccer facet.”

With the help of search agency Sportsology Group, Atlanta went by way of an approximate three-month hiring course of that ended with Lagerwey as the unanimous determination amongst seven finalists. But Steve Cannon, who oversees United proprietor Arthur M. Blank’s Sports and Entertainment (AMBSE) enterprise arm, mentioned Lagerwey was instantly recommended from a number of folks when the place opened in August.

Darren Eales, United’s first-ever president, joined Newcastle United within the English Premier League. He set data for MLS attendance and Atlanta received the 2018 MLS Cup underneath Eales’ management.

Lagerwey didn’t wish to handle his future till the Sounders normal supervisor vote was revealed this month, though he and Hanauer have been in discussions about returning. Atlanta made its provide shortly after Lagerwey was given a 90% vote of confidence to return to his Sounders place on the membership’s Alliance Business assembly on Nov. 16.

“The price of getting issues flawed for a senior rent is absolutely, actually excessive,” Cannon mentioned. “Good, good, considerate corporations take their time and despite the fact that this went actually, very well, from a timing standpoint, we didn’t rush it. We took that time and we discovered the correct man.”

Hanauer wasn’t out there for remark however the membership is predicted to make a “important announcement” Wednesday. The Sounders beforehand said they want to have Lagerwey’s substitute named earlier than coaching camp opens Jan. 4. Craig Waibel, who was named senior vice president of soccer operations and sporting director in 2021, will takeover Lagerwey’s duties within the meantime and is a candidate.

Tuesday was Lagerwey’s second official day with Atlanta. He hadn’t formally reconnected with United coach Gonzo Pineda, a former Sounders assistant throughout Lagerwey’s tenure, nor technical director Carlos Bocanegra.

But except for getting Atlanta again to the playoffs and having limitless sources to signal gamers, Lagerwey reiterated his function to his new media corps.

“In phrases of our soccer course of, I’m the CEO and president, the title is a mouthful, however that means the buck stops with me,” Lagerwey mentioned. “I’m not coming right here to be the GM; I’m coming right here to be the CEO. I’m coming right here to run the group and to grasp and lead the method of your entire group.”

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