Garth Lagerwey 'excited' to make Atlanta United 'deep dive'

Lagerwey is ready to get started with Atlanta United.
Lagerwey is ready to get started with Atlanta United. / Jim Bennett/GettyImages

With his first press conference as Atlanta United president and CEO out of the way, Garth Lagerwey is now ready to get to work.

The 49-year-old arrives at Mercedes-Benz Stadium following a glittering spell as GM and chief soccer officer of the Seattle Sounders, leading the club to two MLS Cup titles and a Concacaf Champions League crown.

However, as he leaves one MLS giant, he joins another with the Five Stripes outstripping every other team in the league when it comes to budget and facilities.

“This opportunity has limitless potential. I can’t wait to get started,” Lagerwey told reporters.

Lagerwey's role in Atlanta will be very different, though. The former goalkeeper will take up a more overarching position in replacing Darren Eales and now finds himself responsible for overseeing the performance of the entire franchise, on and off the field.

“To be clear, I’m not coming here to be the GM. I’m coming here to be the CEO and run the organization. … I’m supposed to make everybody better," he declared.

Atlanta United failed to make the MLS Cup Playoffs for the second time in three years in 2022. What's more, the club has a roster very much in transition, with iconic striker Josef Martinez expected to leave, while surgery is required in key positions such as central midfield and center-back.

But Lagerwey is excited about the opportunities he has ahead of him, with Atlanta United arguably having better pulling power than almost any other MLS team when it comes to attracting enough talent to return to their 2018-2019 glories of winning MLS Cup, US Open Cup, and Campeones Cup titles.

“There are a ton of positives here, look at the talent on and off the field,” he said.

“There’s so much to be excited about…my job is to come in and be thorough. Go slow to move fast. Come in and do an analysis, do a deep dive to understand the business and soccer aspects, then once we’re prepared, to go forward and make decisions.”

On the attraction of Atlanta United to incoming players, he added: “You’ve got to be careful painting with a broad brush, whether they have to be young or old. You have to get a good player. Throughout my career, I’ve always been permitted by ownership to go sign the best player. I haven’t been asked to sign a star with marketing capabilities.

"That’s a benefit to having a rabid fanbase. when you have the fan support you have here, it allows you to go sign the best player.”

Eales delivered incredible success during his time in charge of Atlanta United, before recently departing for Newcastle. Now, Lagerwey will carry the torch, and expectations from supporters couldn't be higher.

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