Atlanta United midfielder Chris McCann is experiencing something he never has in his 13-year career. Coming to a brand new team in Atlanta where the vast majority of players are unknown to each other is something he says is not very common in the world of soccer. The fourth player ever signed by the club, McCann isn’t worried about chemistry being an issue.
“They've brought in the right type of character, everybody has kind of clicked with each other,” McCann told Dirty South Soccer.
“The older guys fit really well and get on really well. We have some experienced guys like Jeff Larentowicz, Michael Parkhurst, and Kenwyne Jones. There's a lot of experience there with the older guys who have gelled together and the younger guys have too. But as a whole, it's come together really well.”
Day by day it seems like Atlanta United are announcing another signing that takes you by surprise. Not only are they signing quality players, but have done it with a regularity that makes you wonder how they’re going to fit all this talent on the field and do it within the league’s salary cap.
Fans aren’t the only ones impressed with the type of moves the club’s technical staff are making. The veteran midfielder sounded genuinely excited by the way the roster is coming together too.
“I don't have any doubt in my mind that we'll be a good side,” McCann said.
“We've brought in a lot of quality players, mixed with that little bit of experience. From the outset the club have done their homework on the right type of player that they want to bring in. I think the signings so far are front line, it looks like a force to be reckoned with already.”
The roster moves are only a few pieces of the large puzzle the club have been building since MLS awarded Atlanta a franchise in 2014. So much has gone into getting the team ready to take the field in March and McCann hasn’t ignored all the special moments along the way.
“You watch from day-to-day at the new things to happen around the club,” McCann said.
“Right from the beginning when the stadium was built, to the kit launch, to the first training session. It's a progression, slowly but surely we've gotten there. It's been an amazing journey so far. This is only the beginning of something great.”
As far as where he fits into the team’s and specifically Tata Martino’s plans remains to be seen. While all expectations are that McCann will be a very important player for the club, there isn’t a consensus of opinion on where exactly in the lineup he’ll be. When asked to clarify which role he prefers, he simply said he’s just happy to play, no matter the position.
In early training sessions so far, he has assumed a midfield role, but that could change as the roster is expanded and preseason matches shape Martino’s thoughts and plans.
“I assume they'll have their role they want me to play in. Just in the last few sessions I've been in midfield. We've been working on a couple of different things, so it comes down to what the manager wants to do,” McCann said.
The players’ relationship and communication with Martino has been a topic of discussion ever since the former Barcelona and Argentina national team manager’s hiring. According to McCann, the language barrier hasn’t been much of a issue thanks to Tata’s willingness to learn and accommodate any possible misunderstandings and rectify them.
“The one big thing he's said is that he wants clarity between himself and us,” McCann said.
“He doesn't want anyone not knowing what they're supposed to be doing. So, if we have a problem, we're free to stop and ask questions. The language barrier hasn't been too much of a problem, to be honest. It's gone pretty smooth and he's getting his ideas across. It seems to be going really well. I think everyone is happy with the way the camp has gone.”