Sporting success for alumnus Darren Eales
Darren Eales, who read law at St Edmund’s in the 1990s, and is now President of Atlanta United FC, saw his team defeat Portland Timbers 2-0 last weekend in front of over 73,000 fans in the final of the US Major Soccer League (MSL) Cup – the culmination of the US professional soccer season. Darren was appointed President of Atlanta United in 2014 before the team even existed – its first game was in 2017. Darren has helped the owner build the team from scratch to the point where it is now one of the 15 most-followed teams in the world, with average crowds of 54,000 at home games in the 1.5 billion dollar Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In a recent interview in The Times in October, Darren explained that “we are pioneers here, we’re trying to grow a sport”.
Darren grew up in the UK and as a teenager played some of his football with the Cambridge United academy. He moved to the US for his first degree with a soccer scholarship at Brown University where he was feted as Ivy League Player of the Year, NSCAA First-Team All-America, COSIDA Academic All-American of the Year and USA Today Student Athlete of the Year, before graduating with a degree in economics. He then played professional soccer in the US for the Hampton Roads Mariners and the New York Centaurs before returning to the UK and St Edmund’s to read law and win a football blue in 1998. Following Cambridge, Darren qualified as a barrister in 2000 and then spent six years practicing law at 2 Temple Gardens Chambers in London. However, he couldn’t keep away from football and became a Director and Company Secretary at West Bromwich Albion and subsequently Executive Director and Club Secretary at Tottenham Hotspur before moving to Atlanta.