SEATTLE, WASH. – Atlanta United today announced Garth Lagerwey as its new club President & Chief Executive Officer. Lagerwey has served as Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer since 2015, capturing the 2016 and 2019 MLS Cups, as well as the 2022 Concacaf Champions League title.
“I’d like to thank Garth for all he’s done for Sounders FC over the past eight seasons,” said Sounders FC Owner Adrian Hanauer. “He helped elevate our club to new heights while also working hard behind the scenes to strengthen our player development pathway, data and analytics departments, academy ranks, Tacoma Defiance roster and much more. Garth’s intellect, persistence and energy helped drive the club forward, and I will never forget his vision for capturing the Concacaf Champions League title and how he energized our fans before this year’s final against Pumas. Many people make up the mosaic of Seattle soccer history, and Garth is certainly on that list of great Sounders that have forged our club into what we all know and love. Congratulations to Garth for taking on this different role in Atlanta, we wish him and his family the best moving forward.
Hanauer continues, “Our club has a proud winning tradition on the field and a commitment to serving the community off of it. Our next leader on the soccer side of the organization will further that mission, and the process of filling this key role is already underway. While change is never easy, I’m proud of our organization’s stability and consistency. We have tremendously talented people working across Sounders FC that help us deliver on the field and in the community, and we’re going to empower and trust those individuals during this time of transition.”
Under Lagerwey, Sounders FC amassed a 117-87-56 MLS regular-season record and a 17-5-3 postseason record, including four MLS Cup Final appearances and two league championships. In continental play, Seattle became the first MLS team to claim a Concacaf Champions League title in 2022, in addition to reaching the final of the 2021 Leagues Cup. On its development side, Sounders FC’s Academy has produced multiple First Team contributors and captured Generation Adidas Cup titles in 2018, 2019 and 2022, the U-17 U.S. Soccer Development Academy championship in 2018 and the Youdan / Sheffield Cup from 2016-2019. Lagerwey has also been responsible for some of the most notable player signings in Sounders FC history, including Nicolás Lodeiro, Raúl Ruidíaz, Albert Rusnák, João Paulo, Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan, among others.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that the past eight years in Seattle have been life-changing for me and my family,” said Lagerwey. “I’m so grateful to the entire Sounders community for welcoming us with open arms and for 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-setting crowd, along with the MLS Cups we captured in 2016 and 2019. But more than anything, I’ll remember the people surrounding this club. There is a spirit to this place that is distinct, from the players, to the staff and Sounders fans, the culture of the Puget Sound soccer community is something I’ll always think of fondly. Thank you to Adrian Hanauer for this opportunity, it was a privilege to be a part of the Sounders organization.”
After joining Sounders FC in January of 2015, Lagerwey made an impression from the get-go by trading up in the First Round of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft to select Roldan with the 16th pick, then acquiring four players in the 2015 summer transfer window – Nelson Valdez, Román Torres, Andreas Ivanschitz and Erik Friberg. In 2016, he oversaw the signing of Morris and Lodeiro, as well as the transition from Sigi Schmid to Brian Schmetzer as Head Coach, a series of moves that propelled Sounders FC to the 2016 MLS Cup title, as well as a runner-up finish in 2017. Lagerwey acquired striker Ruidíaz in the summer of 2018 before winning the 2019 MLS Cup title, secured at home in front of a record crowd at Lumen Field. The club again reached the MLS Cup Final in 2020 after adding João Paulo and Yeimar in the offseason. Lagerwey’s historic free agent signing of Rusnák prior to 2022 helped the Rave Green to this past season’s Concacaf Champions League victory.
Prior to his time in Seattle, Lagerwey served as General Manager of Real Salt Lake for over seven seasons, guiding a team that finished last in the Western Conference in 2007 to seven-straight MLS Cup Playoff appearances from 2008-2014. Under his leadership, RSL accumulated a 101-68-63 record, winning the 2009 MLS Cup and earning another MLS Cup appearance in 2013, in addition to a berth in the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final. RSL also became the first MLS club to finish runner-up in the Concacaf Champions League, falling to Liga MX side Monterrey in the 2010-2011 tournament final.
Lagerwey previously worked as an attorney for the law firm Latham & Watkins, where he served as an associate in the Corporate Department of the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, where he played collegiate soccer, and a law degree from Georgetown University. The Chicago native spent five seasons in MLS as a goalkeeper from 1996-2000 for the Kansas City Wizards, Dallas Burn and Miami Fusion. He made 51 career appearances and 46 starts, accumulating a 25-22-0 record.