Atlanta United

Q&A with President Darren Eales


Darren Eales updates the 5-Stripes on issues related to MLS Postponements and COVID-19.

Darren, is there anything you’d like to say to the 17s?

I’d like to say thank you for your patience.  We have the best fans in the league, and we really appreciate their understanding during this difficult situation. Everything is evolving very quickly, and we are doing our best to keep everyone as updated as we can as we continue to receive information.

When will matches be rescheduled?

The league has postponed the season for 30 days.  The intention is to reschedule all of the matches affected and play a full season including playoffs. One of the advantages MLS has over the other leagues is that our season is longer, so it gives us more time and opportunity to reschedule.  There are several options in terms of rescheduling, including extending the season into the later months of the year. The league is working as hard as they can on the rescheduling process, and we will share updates as soon as they are available.  

Does every MLS Club have to follow the same guidelines set forth by the league?

Yes. We are following the same guidelines as every other club in the league. The league is providing guidance on rescheduling matches, training schedules, safety measures and much more. It’s been amazing how quickly things have changed. Wednesday night, we were playing in the Champions League Quarterfinal in Estadio Azteca and within 24 hours, the league announced the season was postponed. This is a situation that is new to all of us, and tough decisions have to be made in order to keep our players, coaches, staff and fans safe.

How are players, coaches and staff adapting?

This is a case where we are all in this together, trying to do everything we can as a club and a society to keep the coronavirus curve as flat as we can. They are following the guidelines the league has given us; and understand what we all have to do to keep ourselves and our families safe and healthy.

How do you think the 30- day postponement will affect our 2020 season?

This is a serious public health issue that we have not had to face before as a club.  The postponement presents challenges to a lot of people, from our players to our fans to the dedicated staff at MBS on matchdays. On the technical side, in the next 30 days, we will regroup and focus on preparation. It will allow our injured players a little more time to recuperate.  

Any way CONCACAF’s first leg vs. Club America doesn't get counted?

Good question! As much as I’d love to persuade CONCACAF to restart, that isn’t likely. We still have a match to play at home after the postponement against a solid Club America squad. Whenever that match is played, we will give it our best and hope to get the needed result.

Will we continue to have RDS camps, clinics and community events?

All community and grassroots events are postponed for the next few weeks. We are closely monitoring what Atlanta area schools are doing as it relates to our youth soccer planning.  As soon as we have more information, we will share it.

'History of Atlanta Soccer' podcast

'History of Atlanta Soccer' podcast

"The History of Atlanta Soccer" presented by Piedmont is a new audio series from Atlanta United that tracks the growth of soccer in the city, from the turn of the century to organized teams like the Atlanta Chiefs, Silverbacks and Atlanta United.