Minnesota United hires former Barnsley CEO El-Ahmad as GM

Minnesota United FC has tabbed Barnsley CEO Khaled El-Ahmad to be its next GM.

El-Ahmad replaces Adrian Heath, who was fired from his dual role as GM and manager of the first team back in October.

"Khaled is an outstanding fit for this role, and I am thrilled that he and his family made the decision to join our club. He has a tremendous background, a track record of success, exceptional technical vision, a leadership approach that matches our club values and beliefs, and an energy and focus about him that I personally love," said Minnesota CEO Shari Ballard.

"We can't wait to work with him as we begin the next chapter for Minnesota United."

El-Ahmad, 42, spent the last two-plus years with the Barnsley, having joined the club in September 2021.

Previously he worked at City Football Group from 2016-21, where he was the scouting lead for the Scandinavia and Concacaf regions, as well as working with MLS side New York City FC, which is owned by CFG, on their scouting and roster construction.

He also worked in technical roles at Swedish club Djurgardens IF and Danish side Aalborg BK.

"From the very first conversation I had with Shari it was clear that we share a deep connection in terms of our values, our vision for the club's future, the significance of community involvement, and the upcoming chapter in Minnesota United's history," El-Ahmad said. "However, above all else, I am most excited about the opportunity to engage with the fans. Your passion and support is of the highest level and I look forward to embarking on this journey with you."

Beyond his work with NYCFC, El-Ahmad has additional ties to the U.S. having played collegiately at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from 2001-04, where he led the Panthers to four consecutive Horizon League and conference tournament titles. He graduated from UWM with a master's degree in business administration in 2005.

With Minnesota, El-Ahmad will take over the roles formerly filled by Heath and technical director Mark Watson, who was also let go in October.

Long-time Minnesota United fixture Manny Lagos was recently moved into a business development role, clearing the way for El-Ahmad to run all aspects of the club's technical side.

It is still unclear when El-Ahmad will begin his new role with Minnesota. His contract with Barnsley runs through July, and a source with knowledge of the situation said the two clubs are still working out how to best manage El-Ahmad's departure.

For that reason, Minnesota United CEO Shari Ballard will still organize the search for a new manager, though El-Ahmad will have input as well.

The hope is that El-Ahmad will start prior to the opening of the MLS primary transfer window in January.