Gareth Lagerroy leaves the Sounders for Atlanta United

Garth Laguerroi has left the Seattle Sounders to join Atlanta United as team president and chief executive officer, the clubs announced Tuesday. Lagerwey has signed a multi-year contract in which he will oversee the first team, Atlanta United II and the Academy.

“I would like to thank Garth for everything he has done for the Sounders Club over the past eight seasons,” Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer said in a team statement. “He has helped elevate our club to new heights while also working hard behind the scenes to enhance our player development funnel, data and analytics departments, academy ranks, Tacoma Defiance roster and more.

“Garth’s intelligence, tenacity and energy helped propel the club forward, and I will never forget seeing him win the CONCACAF Champions League title and how he energized our fans ahead of this year’s final against the Pumas. Many people make up the mosaic of Seattle football history, and Garth is certainly included in A fantastic Sounders roster that has made our club into what we all know and love. Congratulations to Garth on taking on such a different role in Atlanta, and we wish him and his family the best moving forward.”

In addition to leading the Sounders to this year’s CCL Cup victory, Lagerwey has also overseen two MLS Cups, two more trips to the MLS Cup Finals and even the League Cup Final during his eight years at the helm. He was also credited with organizationally modernizing the front office and the academy, adding large numbers to their staff and formalizing their systems.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that the past eight years in Seattle have changed my life and my family,” LaGroe said in a statement. “I am so grateful to the entire Sounders community for welcoming us with open arms and supporting the club through these amazing years. Earlier this season, we achieved immortality together by becoming the first MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions League. I will never forget that moment in front of a record crowd, alongside With the MLS cups we got in 2016 and 2019. But more than anything, I’ll remember the people around this club. There’s such a special spirit in this place, from the players, to the staff and the Sounders fans, the culture of the Puget Sound football community is something I’ll think about. Always fondly. Thanks Adrian Hanauer for the opportunity, it has been an honor to be a part of the Sounders organization.”

While the news comes suddenly — the results of Lagerwey’s successful vote to keep were only official last week — this news isn’t entirely surprising. Atlanta was the only team in MLS that could offer Lagerwey a realistic promotion, giving him not only oversight of the league’s most ambitious transfer budget but a prestigious competition committee as well. Like Seattle, Atlanta plays to huge crowds and will also host World Cup matches in 2026.

“I see the opportunity to lead Atlanta United as a dream come true for me,” Lagroe said in a separate statement. “The opportunity to take on the CEO role at a club with incredible ownership, unparalleled resources and infrastructure, and the incredible fan support that this club has enjoyed from the start all made this the perfect next step in my career. Honestly, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime and I won’t be More excited to get to Atlanta and get to work.”

Despite the lack of announcements, it seems likely that the Sounders will choose to simply promote Craig Waibel to general manager, at least in the meantime. Waibel joined the Sounders in 2021 after previously serving as GM at Real Salt Lake and is already the Sounders’ top talent evaluator. He would be only the third person to hold the position heading into the Sounders’ 14th MLS season.

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