After more than two years of waiting and speculating, Atlanta United FC have their first ever manager. The club announced today that former Argentina national team and Barcelona boss, Gerardo “Tata” Martino, will have the honor of being the first manager in their history.
Weeks of rumors and a few subtle hints finally culminate in Atlanta United making a big splash on the managerial front.
“We are delighted that a manager of Gerardo’s caliber and pedigree will be leading our team into our inaugural season,” said Atlanta United President Darren Eales. “His deep experience and success at both the club and international levels speak for itself, and his vision and approach aligns very well with our club philosophy. We’re confident in his ability to help build a winning culture both on and off the pitch.”
“I’m very happy to join Atlanta United as the first head coach in club history” Martino said. “This is an exciting time for MLS and I’m looking forward to the challenge of leading a team in an evolving league. Atlanta United is a first-rate organization, and I’m very eager to get working and build one of the top clubs in MLS.”
“This is an incredibly exciting and historic day for our club,” said Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank. “Gerardo brings an unprecedented level of international experience to our head coaching position that will be a valuable asset to our players and demonstrates the continuing growth of Major League Soccer. We’re thrilled he’s chosen to join our club and look forward to welcoming him to Atlanta.”
Martino, 53, boasts one of if not the best resumes any MLS manager ever has. Most recently he resigned from his Argentina post after two straight runner-up finishes at the Copa America. Before coaching him with the national team, he managed his countryman and arguably the greatest soccer player of all-time, Lionel Messi, at Barcelona.
There he had the difficult task of replacing a club legend in Tito Villanova. It wasn’t the best of tenures, but he held his own at one of the best clubs in the world for a year before being replaced.
He’s known for an up-tempo style of play, one that Darren Eales and Carlos Bocanegra have said in the past they want to bring to Atlanta United. Time will tell just what kind of philosophy the Argentine will bring to the club.
“Gerardo’s teams have always been organized and have displayed a fast and fluid style that aligns with how we intend to play,” said Atlanta United Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra. “He’s also demonstrated a commitment to youth soccer, consistently proving his ability to enhance the progression of younger players. He’s a great fit for our club and I look forward to working with him to build a successful club.”
Not many were expecting this big of a splash on the coaching front this early. Maybe more so on the high profile players side of things. Perhaps this hire will lead to that as well. Nevertheless, it’s an historic day for Atlanta’s newest sports team.
Welcome to Atlanta, Tata!