The comparison that was made yesterday at Tata Martino’s introductory press conference to David Beckham’s signing has stuck with me. With Beckham’s signing, which I still say is the best business decision ever made by Major League Soccer, his impact was immense both on and off the field. Tata Martino’s hire by Atlanta United can do the same.
On the field, we’ve discussed it in depth. Martino’s style of play was appealing to Atlanta United once they started talking. Carlos Bocanegra specifically cited the teams at Newell’s Old Boys, which was a high velocity team that liked to press and get forward, and with the Paraguayan national team, which demonstrated Martino’s more pragmatic elements and ability to get the most out of what he has at his disposal. He is possibly the most accomplished manager to stand on an MLS touchline in its history.
However, it is the off the field component of Martino’s hire that has sparked my imagination. Atlanta United is now respected around the world for being bold and breaking the norms of MLS hires. They are on the worldwide map, especially in Central and South America.
This type of hire will only help them recruit players who want to come play for Martino. At Newell’s, Martino was able to bring in experienced veterans to complement his young stars from the academy. Maybe he will do the same in Atlanta?
The bigger impact Martino’s hire could have is on MLS itself. This move has raised the bar around the league, as many of Atlanta United’s actions have. Other fan bases might be disappointed by a safe hire of a coach with MLS experience who failed in his last stop. They might expect more. They might expect their manager to get as involved with the academy as it seems Martino will. It’s not about foreign managers being better, it’s about breaking the inferiority complex that sometimes surrounds MLS and American soccer.
Sometimes it takes big bold moves to make a change. David Beckham’s signing was huge, probably more so in hindsight than we imagined at the time. Tata Martino’s hire has that same potential.
Montreal solidifies their playoff standing, while crushing San Jose’s hopes (MLS)
DC United goes four points clear in the sixth spot with an assertive 3-0 win over Columbus (Black and Red United)
It isn’t pretty, but Toronto goes to the top of the Eastern Conference after a home 0-0 draw with Orlando (Waking the Red)
For the first time in 2016, Seattle sits in a playoff spot after a 1-0 win over Chicago (Sounder at Heart)
Marshall heads in the corner and Seattle lead 1-0 https://t.co/HSAUMncVhN— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) September 29, 2016
FC Dallas draw 0-0 with Suchitepequez in CONCACAF Champions League (Big D Soccer)
Vancouver rolls over Kenwyne Jones’ Central FC to finish group play undefeated in CONCACAF (Eighty Six Forever)
Get to know Orlando’s Cyle Larin (Orlando Sentinel)
Chris McCann’s manager at Coventry City is out:
Anfield expansion could be put on hold (Liverpool Offside)
Carlos Tevez frustrated in Argentina with Boca Juniors (Goal)
MSOC | North Georgia survives late rally with 3-2 win over Young Harris https://t.co/lWtv3x6AWr— YHC Athletics (@YHCAthletics) September 29, 2016
Some blowouts in Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association play yesterday. Georgia Military College won 11-1 over Emory-Oxford. The GMC women lost 5-0 to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.
Marti Bartis and Baquerizo With Goal and Assist Each as Clayton State Deadlocks 2-2 Against Montevallo https://t.co/5jdvcgpF0p— Clayton State Sports (@CSULakers) September 29, 2016
Clayton State’s men lost to Montevallo 2-1.