TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League announced today that experienced soccer executive Paul McDonough has been named as USL President and Chief Soccer Officer.
In his new role, McDonough will lead the USL’s ongoing strategic efforts to elevate our professional leagues: the USL Championship, USL Super League, and USL League One. He will focus on laying out the strategic vision for evolving and implementing the USL’s business and sporting initiatives, including innovative competition reforms that will accelerate our growth and transform soccer in America.
Alec Papadakis, USL CEO: "The USL is thrilled to welcome Paul McDonough, one of the most respected and qualified soccer executives in the United States, at a pivotal moment in our evolution as the largest and fastest-growing soccer organization in the United States. His experience and knowledge of soccer in America and football abroad are unmatched as it relates to both the on-field product and the business of sports. Paul will assume a major role in taking our professional leagues to the next level, as well as implementing the innovative sporting reforms we have under consideration to more closely align the USL with the global game. The USL is steadfastly committed to achieving this goal. Furthermore, Paul’s astute business acumen and comprehensive expertise in the transfer market will greatly enhance our teams, academies, and player development pathways while bolstering the financial health of our clubs. With the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup on the horizon, Paul will further cement the USL’s position as a global leader for professional soccer."
Paul McDonough, USL President & Chief Soccer Officer: "The USL has evolved incredibly in the last decade, which is a testament to the work of everyone in the league office and all the clubs. It is now firmly established in the fabric of the game in the United States and primed to play a major role in shaping the game’s future here. The USL professional leagues have strong clubs, dedicated ownership, world-class infrastructure, emerging player development pathways, and passionate fan bases. This makes the opportunity to join this organization exciting and interesting, and I look forward to working with the entire USL ecosystem to push our leagues and our business forward."
McDonough joins the USL with more than 20 years of experience in a variety of leadership roles in American soccer. Most recently, he held the position of Chief Soccer Officer at Wasserman, the sport’s global leader in player representation.
Previously, McDonough served as Chief Operating Officer and Sporting Director at Inter Miami CF, where he managed business operations and helped lead the club from its nascent phase through its inaugural season. He played a significant role in the club’s efforts to develop a soccer-specific stadium and a world-class training complex.
In 2016, McDonough served as Vice President of Soccer Operations for Atlanta United FC, helping launch the expansion club in Major League Soccer in 2017. He was responsible for assembling Atlanta United’s inaugural roster, signing many of the players who went on to win the MLS Cup in 2018 and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2019.
McDonough has previous experience with the USL, having served as Orlando City SC’s General Manager when the club was in USL PRO (now USL Championship) in 2014-15. In his first year, the team enjoyed a successful campaign that saw them break multiple attendance records and finish with the best regular-season record. McDonough then led the club’s soccer operations as it transitioned to Major League Soccer, overseeing the building of the initial roster, which included global superstar Kaka and future Canadian international Cyle Larin, among others.
Like many of the USL’s top executives, McDonough is steeped in the game beyond the front office. He has held assistant coaching roles at Wake Forest University, the University of South Carolina, and the University of Connecticut.
In addition to his strategic business role, McDonough will lead the USL’s sporting department, previously managed by Sporting Director Mark Cartwright. Cartwright, who joined the USL headquarters in 2021, has recently departed to pursue other opportunities abroad. The USL wishes him well in his future endeavors.