Atlanta United president Darren Eales is set to join the Aberdeen board as part of the clubs’ strategic partnership – but who is he?
As part of an announcement yesterday which confirmed Dave Cormack will ascend to the role of Dons chairman on December 15, replacing Stewart Milne, it was revealed AMB Sports & Entertainment (the parent company of Atlanta United) is investing £2 million into AFC as part of a new package of investment.
Handily, Atlanta have already put together a clip detailing Eales’ journey from Cambridge United player to the Major League Soccer team’s top man:
From the English lower leagues,
To playing in the NCAA,
To employee No. 1 at #ATLUTD
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) November 24, 2019
British-born Eales played for Cambridge in England before moving to the US on a soccer scholarship, playing for West Virginia University and Brown University, where he was named Ivy League Player of the Year and NSCAA 1st Team All-American.
When injuries cut short his professional playing career, Eales returned to England and earned a MA in Law at Cambridge University. In 2000, he qualified as a barrister specialising in sports law.
Eales served as in-house legal counsel, director and club secretary at West Bromwich Albion Football Club before joining Tottenham in 2010, where he touched on all major aspects of football operations during his four-year tenure.
He helped to negotiate and execute player transfers, including playing a key role in the 2013 world record transfer fee sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid. He was a Premier League representative on the FA Professional Game Board and Chairman of the FA Cup Committee.
As the first President of Atlanta United, Eales led the club in its record-breaking 2017 inaugural campaign, widely considered one of the most accomplished seasons in MLS history, and also led the club to its historic 2018 MLS Cup Championship title in only its second season.
In addition to assembling the club’s front office and the development and integration of the club’s brand identity, Eales led its on-field progression, hiring integral members to join the technical staff, including vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra.
Honoring his accomplishments, the World Football Summit named Eales the Best Executive of the Year in 2019.