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Atlanta United hires Dimitrios Efstathiou as new VP of soccer operations

Atlanta United FC hired Dimitrios Efstathiou as its new vice president of soccer operations and strategy, the club announced Wednesday.

Efstathiou heads to Atlanta after working for MLS since 2011 and most recently serving as the senior vice president of player relations and competition. His job with Atlanta United will begin on August 6.

“Dimitrios is a seasoned executive with extensive experience at the league level,” club president Darren Eales said in a statement. “He will be a valuable strategic addition to our front office with his legal background and comprehensive knowledge of MLS commercial and competition guidelines. Dimitrios brings a strong familiarity with roster management and the player acquisition process to our Technical Department.”

Efstathiou replaces Paul McDonough, who joined the club as vice president of soccer operations after leaving Inter Miami in December 2020.

In May, McDonough and Atlanta United agreed to part ways after he was suspended by MLS from any league-related activity through the 2022 season following an investigation into Inter Miami’s signing of World Cup winner Blaise Matuidi. MLS also fined Inter Miami CF $2 million and club owner Jorge Mas $250,000.

What he brings to the job?

Paul Tenorio, MLS staff writer: As a veteran executive in the league’s player department, Efstathiou has a keen understanding of the league’s complicated salary cap rules and how to maximize cap space for the roster.

In MLS, that type of knowledge has proved to be a huge boost for teams. Other former league executives turned team execs include Columbus’s Tim Bezbatchenko, who helped build MLS Cup winners in Toronto and Columbus; Ali Curtis, who won a Supporters’ Shield as an executive in New York; and Will Kuntz, who has helped LAFC to a Supporters’ Shield as part of the front office.

Efstathiou’s top priorities

Felipe Cardenas, MLS staff writer: Efstathiou’s hire comes on the same day that the MLS summer transfer window opens. Aside from helping to stabilize Atlanta United’s front office following McDonough’s dismissal, Efstathiou must address the many holes in Atlanta’s current roster.

The 2018 MLS champions have one win in the last seven matches. The attack continues to underperform, as Atlanta has failed to score a goal in their last three outings. Additionally, Efstathiou will have to establish a rapport with head coach Gabriel Heinze and align his transfer strategy with the team’s tactics.

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