A day before taking part in the club’s first ever MLS SuperDraft, Atlanta United’s President and Technical Director, Darren Eales and Carlos Bocanegra, sat down for a lengthy interview with Andrew Wiebe of ExtraTime Radio.
The interview covered many different topics including preseason plans, the stadium situation, how Atlanta’s new signings will fit together, and more.
Pressure on the club to succeed in year one has been a big talking point ever since they started spending a healthy portion of money to build the team. Eales says having a successful season in year one will be difficult, but they’ve planned on doing everything they can to make the team competitive to kick off their existence.
One of the biggest factors in that first-year success will obviously be how the manager sets things up and how much he can get out of the inaugural roster. Tata Martino will have a big task on his hands.
His influence has already been felt with the recruitment of players like Miguel Almiron and Yamil Asad, two players who might not have even considered MLS or Atlanta if not for the reputation of the former Argentina manager.
Eales reveals during the interview that the Argentinian connection has been really strong since the hire was announced. Even so far as the kit sales as the South American country is No. 2 in the rankings behind the USA for purchases of Atlanta shirts.
Another topic that Eales shed some light on is the club’s Designated Player philosophy. He says that targeting younger players who the club could possibly sell on for more money in the future was a concentrated strategy similar to the one he had at Tottenham Hotspur. He says that MLS ready to be that destination for young talented players to prove themselves for the elite clubs of the world.
As the club inch ever closer to their inaugural season the buzz around the city continues to build. Today’s draft will be another stepping stone to finally getting to that March 5th date to kick off three years of building.