Atlanta United FC is doing it big.
On Wednesday Argentina coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino was named as the first-ever head coach of the incoming Major League Soccer franchise who will join the league for the 2017 season.
In a major coup, Martino, 53, will lead Atlanta in its inaugural MLS campaign after resigning as Argentina’s manager this summer following their second-straight defeat to Chile on penalty kicks in the final of the Copa America.
Martino has also managed the Paraguyan national team, Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina and spent one season at Barcelona in 2013-14, losing out on the La Liga title on the final day of the season to Atletico Madrid.
“I’m very happy to join Atlanta United as the first head coach in club history,” Martino said in a club statement. “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.”
His experience and pedigree as a coach is well documented and Tata is undoubtedly one of the biggest, if not the biggest, managerial appointment in MLS history.
Atlanta United’s owner Arthur Blank said he was “thrilled” Martino chose to head to ATL, while Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra praised the new head coach heavily.
“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.”