ATLANTA — Atlanta United hired former Argentina national coach Gerardo Martino on Tuesday as coach for its 2017 inaugural MLS season.
Martino is a former professional player who brings 20 years of coaching experience on the club and international levels to the new Atlanta team. He also has led the Paraguay national team and the Spanish League’s FC Barcelona.
“This is an exciting time for MLS and I’m looking forward to the challenge of leading a team in an evolving league,” Martino said in a statement released by the team. “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 United has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday.
Team President Darren Eales said Martino is a good fit for the expansion franchise.
“His deep experience and success at both the club and international levels speak for itself, and his vision and approach aligns very well with our club philosophy,” Eales said. “We’re confident in his ability to help build a winning culture both on and off the pitch.”
Martino most recently managed the Argentina national team from 2014 to 2016. He led Argentina to the No. 1 FIFA world ranking in July 2015 and to appearances in the Copa America final in 2015 and 2016.
Atlanta United will play its debut season in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which also will be home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. Both teams are owned by Arthur Blank, who described the hiring of Martino as “an incredibly exciting and historic day for our club.”
Blank also said the team’s ability to hire Martino “demonstrates the continuing growth of Major League Soccer.”
Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra said fans can expect Martino’s teams to play a “fast and fluid style.”
“He’s also demonstrated a commitment to youth soccer, consistently proving his ability to enhance the progression of younger players,” Bocanegra said.