What type of Manager do you think Atlanta United are looking for?
Eric Quintana: Everyone knows I was on the #KreisTrain all the way up until he signed on to coach pure evil. It’s because I thought Atlanta United wanted someone with heavy MLS experience. EPL purists in Atlanta would’ve been appalled, but tested MLS experience would have complimented the “want to win now” mantra echoed by everyone in the club’s front office. It seems clear now Darren Eales and company want a reputable name managing the roster. The European clubs preseasons are starting and a host of recognized names are still without a club. That could open the door for Atlanta United to sign a European head coach.
Sam Franco: Judging by what Atlanta United have done so far in building a team, it would seem that they want a manager that favors an attacking style of play. A solid for them right off the bat is that the striker they recently signed, Kenwyne Jones, could probably play in both a two striker system or as a target man in a 4-3-3. If they add another pacy winger, I could definitely see the latter being successful, but that would obviously depend on what the manager wants to run. I also think that it's important to Arthur Blank to make a splash in AUFC's first season, so a well known manager might be what they're looking for.
Matthew Edmiston: I think Atlanta United want someone who is adaptable. Whoever the manager ends up being, he will have to figure out a system that works with the players we have already signed. With Kenwyne Jones seeming to be our first choice striker, we will need a manager who can create a system focused on crossing the ball, utilizing the aerial ability to Jones, and be deadly on the counter attack. The manager will likely have the freedom to choose his own defensive targets, but there isn’t as much wiggle room along the back four. To me, it wouldn’t make sense after Roberto Martinez who is a possession style manager with players we already have. Neither Kenwyne Jones nor Hector Villalba would fit into a Martinez system.
Jason Longshore: It has been consistently said that the team will be playing an attacking style, so that is definitely a prerequisite for any manager they choose. I think they want a manager who will not be afraid of the big moments, as the club is definitely going to be ambitious. I'm not sure that MLS experience is a must, but they will have to have someone willing to learn or rely on others to get acclimated appropriately.
Also, with such an experienced front office, the club will need a manager who will accept not being the only voice in the room on roster decisions. That's not to say that the manager will have zero input on player acquisitions, but they must be comfortable working in a committee structure at a minimum.
Rob Usry: I think it’s become pretty obvious that the front office are looking for a manager to adapt to their vision and desired style of play. Young and dynamic are a few of the words that have been thrown around when describing the type of team they want Atlanta United to be. It makes sense to bring in a younger manager to grow with the team and adapt to the style. A veteran will want to come in and apply his knowledge and own philosophy, that’s just not what they seem to be looking for. Expect the manager to be on the younger side and one willing to adjust to the team instead of vice versa.
What type of manager do you want to them to hire?
Eric Quintana: Before Kreis agreed to coach Orlando City, I would’ve only been satisfied with a MLS-experienced coach. But, after seeing the success Patrick Vieira has had with NYCFC this year, I believe surrounding someone like Roberto Martinez with MLS assistants could be a potent challenge for MLS teams in 2017. Plus, I believe his style of play suits MLS very much and fits the kind of players Atlanta United has signed so far.
Sam Franco: The main drawback to Martinez would be his lack of familiarity with MLS. I think this would be covered up due to the fact that Atlanta United has built a staff that is familiar with the league and how it operates. Martinez could focus just on his players and the action on the field and the rest of the staff could focus on all of the off the field MLS poppycock. Some say that tactically, he isn't the best manager, but that seems like a batch of Haterade to me. The guy got Swansea promoted to the English Championship (England's 2nd tier) for the first time in 24 years, and again, he won the FA Cup with friggin' Wigan. He had to be doing something right.
Matthew Edmiston: I think Atlanta United will target Tim Sherwood. Sherwood is out of a job after less than a year with Aston Villa but while at Tottenham he had a 50% win percentage. He revitalized, for a short time at least, Emmanuel Adebayor’s career and developed a system that got him scoring goals. Kenwyne Jones can be Sherwood’s Adebayor. Tim Sherwood was also manager at Tottenham while Darren Eales was Director of Football. Their experience together and his record at Tottenham will make him a target for Atlanta United.
Jason Longshore: I'm fully on board with the attacking style part of it. I think an entertaining style of soccer is key to attracting and retaining the fanbase. Results are obviously important there, but a pleasing style will appease the fans until the results come. At least for a while...
I want a manager who is not afraid to play young players. With the academy being such an important focus of the club, I would hate to see a manager that only values experienced players and will not give the youngsters a chance to learn and grow.
I also think choosing a manager who has been consistently involved with success is important. I do not want to see a retread just because they have MLS experience. I do not want to see an assistant coach who has only been associated with losing teams get promoted. Understanding how a successful team operates, and how the manager can transmit that to the players, is vital.
Rob Usry: Young and exciting sounds perfectly fine to me. The club already have an experienced front office and a few veterans already under contract. I want a manager who will be around for the long haul and willing to build for the future. That means investing in youth and the club’s overall vision. They need a manager who is 100% on board with the club’s philosophy, otherwise a disconnect will appear and the results could be disastrous just like they were for NYCFC and Jason Kreis.
Who will they hire?
Eric Quintana: As to who it could be? My guess is that Taylor Twellman knows something we don’t. It’s strange to think of the former Everton boss and realize he still hasn’t signed up to coach a club in the 2016-17 EPL season. Some believe the manager has already been signed, helping solidify players who have already decided to play with Atlanta United in 2017.
Sam Franco: I think Martinez will be the guy. Twellman is very well connected, and wouldn't be throwing that out there if he didn't know something. I also don't see Hull City being that attractive of a proposition for Martinez because he could come to the States in a much lower pressure situation and probably make the same (or more) amount of money.
Matthew Edmiston: My pick for Atlanta United’s first manager is André Breitenreiter, the former FC Schalke manager. Breitenreiter’s tactics include a high-energy counter-attacking style that will not only entertain the fans and be attractive soccer but will fit their current players. Breitenreiter used a system effectively used the traits of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who scored 16 goals in 40 games this past season. Breitenreiter has a fair amount of experience but not so much that he wouldn’t consider joining Atlanta United. Though Breitenreiter is my first choice, Tim Sherwood is a more than capable candidate for Atlanta United.
Jason Longshore: I don't think the club is going to go too far out in left field on this choice. If they can agree to terms, I think Roberto Martinez checks off a lot of their boxes. If for some reason it does not happen and they have to go in another direction, I would like to see them consider Giovanni Savarese. He has won at the NASL level, he has managed big personalities and egos, and he has shown some savvy in how he has managed the team in matches. I think he is ready for the next level.
Rob Usry: I quite like the idea of Roberto Martinez, but I’m just not sure paying big money for a manager fits the plan. A high profile manager will likely have the attitude of wanting to implement his own vision into the team. I can’t get the fact that Adrian Heath and Paul McDonough have a history together. He seems like the right kind of guy for the job even if it’s not a glamorous one. In all honesty, I have absolutely no clue. If I had to put money on a candidate, it would be Heath.