By CARL SETTERLUND
MLS Atlanta isn’t in the market for players yet, but they just made a big acquisition.
The league’s 22nd franchise announced on Wednesday that they signed Tottenham executive director Darren Eales to become the club’s first president — another move that demonstrates owner Arthur Blank’s ambition to succeed in MLS.
“We couldn’t be happier with Darren’s decision to join us as president of MLS Atlanta,” Blank said in a statement. “He brings a unique depth of experience to our organization, having played in the U.S. professionally and given his dealings with MLS as a club executive and legal counsel in the Premier League. His credentials speak for themselves; he knows how to lead a first-class organization and build a winning team.”
The British-born Eales has previously lived in the United States to play college soccer at West Virginia University and Brown University, and will move to the Atlanta area in early 2015 following a transition period with Tottenham.
“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,” Eales said. “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.”
Tottenham qualified for European competition every year since Eales joined the club from West Bromwich Albion in 2010. While with Spurs, Eales has been involved in several notable transfers — Gareth Bale to Real Madrid comes to mind — but he also has experience working with MLS, helping to negotiate the transfers of Clint Dempsey, Robbie Keane, and Jermain Defoe.
Here’s a look at some more news from around MLS:
MILLER, TORRES CALLED UP FOR COPA CENTROAMERICANA
Several of the nations involved in the ongoing Copa Centroamericana have made roster moves ahead of the final two rounds this week with three MLS players involved.
New York Red Bulls defender Roy Miller has been called up to Costa Rica, while Rodney Wallace has been released by the squad back to the Portland Timbers.
The Colorado Rapids will also be weakened for Week 27, losing Gabriel Torres to Panama.
Although it’s a tough time of the season to go without key players, there is good reason for them to help out their national teams as the Copa Centroamericana serves as a qualifier for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
D.C. UNITED’S JOHNSON DAY-TO-DAY WITH CONCUSSION SYMPTOMS
D.C. United were given a major boost this week when Chris Pontius was included on their traveling roster, but the club could be without a key player for their mid-week clash against the rival New York Red Bulls.
D.C. United could be without Eddie Johnson, as head coach Ben Olsen has labeled him as day-to-day with concussion symptoms. Johnson suffered the injury during training last week and has not yet been cleared by team doctors.
With Chris Rolfe also missing, Olsen will count himself lucky to have great depth up front, with Fabian Espindola and Luis Silva still available for Wednesday night’s match against the Red Bulls.
CAHILL QUESTIONABLE FOR RED BULLS’ MIDWEEK FIXTURE
Another player questionable for tonight’s key Eastern Conference clash is the Red Bulls’ Tim Cahill, who is on his way back from national team duty with Australia.
“I think he’s going to be landing some point today or later tonight,” Red Bulls coach Mike Petke said. “I have not made the decision yet (on Cahill’s availability), but I mean, he’s played two games and flying all day. He hasn’t practiced with the team. I don’t know, I definitely have to sit back before I throw my 18 out there to figure that out.”
Cahill played 72 minutes in Australia’s 2-0 loss to Belgium last Friday and 69 minutes last Monday in Australia’s 3-2 victory over Saudi Arabia in London. Cahill padded his record scoring stats with his 34th international goal in the match at Craven Cottage.
What do you think of this news? Like the acquisition of Eales? Which Copa Centroamericana loss do you see hurting the most? How do you see Johnson’s injury impacting D.C. United’s season?
Share your thoughts below.