Frank de Boer is out as Atlanta United head coach, the MLS club announced in a shock statement released Friday.
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Atlanta, who were tipped by many to win MLS Cup in 2020, were knocked out of the MLS is Back tournament earlier this week without registering a single point in Orlando, Florida.
The Georgia club say that they and De Boer ‘mutually agree to part ways’ but we all know how that usually goes.
De Boer won the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the second-annual Campeones Cup, as he led Atlanta to a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference in 2019 and they won their first two games this season before the coronavirus pandemic shut down MLS in March.
Atlanta United released the following statement confirming De Boer’s departure after 18 months in charge.
Atlanta United today announced the club and head coach Frank De Boer have mutually agreed to part ways, effective immediately. Also departing from the club are assistant coaches Orlando Trustfull and Bob de Klerk and video analyst Erwin Koenis. The club will announce an interim coach shortly while beginning a search for de Boer’s permanent replacement.
“On behalf of Atlanta United, I would like to thank Frank for his leadership and commitment to the club,” said Atlanta United President Darren Eales. “Under Frank’s guidance, the club had a strong 2019 season in both MLS and international competition. After discussing it with Frank, the decision was reached mutually to part ways. In winning two trophies in his first season in charge, he will always be a part of the club’s history, and with great appreciation and respect we wish him all the best in the future.”
De Boer said the following about his departure from Atlanta, as the legendary Dutch player will now seek a fresh challenge elsewhere.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had with Atlanta United,” Frank de Boer said. “Coaching in Major League Soccer and living in Atlanta has been a wonderful experience and a welcome new challenge. I will never forget the incredible supporters here in Atlanta, they are truly special. I want to thank the players, coaches and staff for all of their support, it has been my pleasure to work with all of you.”
And that, ladies and gents, is that.
De Boer has always been a coach who divides opinion. At times during 2019 Atlanta looked great but his only full season in charge led to lots of possession without any purpose and the 2017 expansion franchise failed to reach the heights of Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino’s reign as he left after guiding them to MLS Cup glory in 2018.
All in all, the slow, patient style of play that De Boer wanted to bring to Atlanta was just too different to what the squad assembled by Tata was used to and it never really worked.
This works out best for everyone, but it is a shock.