A huge win for Major League Soccer and expansion side Atlanta United FC, as the club announced that former Barcelona and Argentina coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino will oversee Atlanta’s first season in the MLS in 2017.
“This is an incredibly exciting and historic day for our club,” Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank said.
“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 took over as Argentina coach following the 2014 World Cup, where the South Americans were beaten in the final, and led them to two consecutive Copa America finals, where they lost twice to Chile on penalties.
It followed a successful spell as Paraguay coach, where he guided the team to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup and the final of the 2011 Copa America.
“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.”
Atlanta are making a major statement in hiring Martino. MLS’s history is littered with foreign managers who struggled in the league because they failed to adapt to the American players’ mentality and, probably more than anything, the convoluted and unique rules in the league. Of the current MLS managers, only Patrick Vieira did not have a history in American soccer before he was hired, but he’s doing an excellent job with New York City FC, potentially giving Atlanta more confidence in going after Martino.