Just a few months after signing an Argentine star forward, Atlanta’s new Major League Soccer club has once again dipped into South America for football expertise — but this time, the announcement is even bigger.
Atlanta United has named Gerardo “Tata” Martino as the expansion team’s first head coach — a challenge the seasoned leader says he’s ready to tackle.
“This is an exciting time for MLS and I’m looking forward to the challenge of leading a team in an evolving league,” Mr. Martino said in a statement. “Atlanta United is a first-rate organization, and I’m very eager to get working and build one of the top clubs in MLS.”
Most recently, Mr. Martino coached Argentina National Team, leading them to the finals of the Copa America for the last two years (both times falling to Chile) and restoring the team’s No. 1 FIFA world ranking for the first time since 2008.
Mr. Martino, 53, had previous stints as head coach of the national team of Paraguay and FC Barcelona, a well-respected club in Spain’s La Liga.
His long career as a player includes a record for most games played for the top Argentine league’s Newell’s Old Boys, a team he led to the title three times and later coached from 2011-13.
The long-awaited announcement of the team’s leader comes as it’s notching successes in the ticket office. Even before the completion of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which will also house the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, the soccer club has sold more than 22,000 season tickets. That’s more than the average attendance of the Atlanta Braves this year and higher than all NBA teams, according to Dirty South Soccer.
The team held a press conference officially announcing Mr. Martino on Sept. 28. Learn more about Mr. Martino here.