DC United finds a new general manager as it tries to end its playoff drought

DC United has hired Ally Mackay as general manager and director of football, people close to the matter said Friday, turning to the Scottish-born Nashville SC executive to not only oversee the squad but also chart a new course after years of disappointment.

For the past four seasons, Mackay has served as Nashville’s assistant general manager under Mike Jacobs, the architect of a 2020 expansion operation that qualified for the playoffs in each of the four MLS seasons.

Previously, Mackay was a player agent for the London-based Stellar Group.

Representatives for United and Nashville SC said they did not want to comment on the situation.

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Mackay will become Manchester United’s most technically powerful figure and will be tasked with defining the team’s culture and leading the search for a head coach following the departure of Wayne Rooney in October.

Mackay will essentially replace Dave Kasper, who has overseen most of the roster moves with multiple titles over nearly 22 years. Kasper is currently United’s sporting director and president of football operations. As a salary cap expert, he is expected to become a senior advisor to CEO Jason Levien, although he will have no decision-making authority.

Lucy Rushton was Kasper’s CEO in 2021 and 2022 before she was fired last fall. Kasper and technical director Stewart Mairs have overseen personnel decisions this season.

Unlike Rushton, Mackay will report directly to Levien rather than Kasper, according to multiple people familiar with the club’s plans.

United interviewed several other candidates from MLS teams, as well as Fredi Bobic – the former sporting director of Bundesliga clubs Stuttgart, Eintracht Frankfurt and Hertha Berlin – and at least one director of a Liga MX club in Mexico.

United hasn’t qualified for the postseason since 2019 and hasn’t won a playoff game since 2015. Next season marks the 20th anniversary of the club’s last MLS Cup title.

United faltered that season and finished the season with a 10-14-10 record, finishing 12th in the Eastern Conference and 23rd overall in the 29-team league. Last year, his 7-21-6 record was the worst in MLS.

Mackay’s top priority will be replacing Rooney, who was hired by Birmingham City in the English second tier four days after leaving United. He brought with him two DC assistants, Pete Shuttleworth and Carl Robinson.

Goalkeeping coach Diego Restrepo has left to fill the same position at Bay FC, the 2024 NWSL expansion team for which Rushton is chief executive, according to people close to the situation.

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As part of discussions with United management, Mackay has already entered into talks about potential coaching candidates from MLS circles and abroad, one person said.

In agreement with the new coach, Mackay will also need to find a third designated player, with a spot left vacant when Manchester United parted ways with Greek striker Taxi Fountas at the end of the season following a second accusation of using a racial slur.

United’s remaining designated players, striker Christian Benteke and midfielder Mateusz Klich, are expected to return. Designated players are high-cost talent that are largely exempt from the league salary cap.

With Mackay taking over, the club is expected to announce decisions on players with contract options soon. United are set to re-sign free agent center back Donovan Pines, who is seeking opportunities in Europe. He must also decide whether to keep playmaker Gabriel Pirani, whose loan from Santos in his native Brazil is coming to an end.


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