Gerardo 'Tata' Martino named first coach of MLS expansion team Atlanta United FC

MLS expansion side Atlanta makes splash with first coaching hire, bringing in former manager of Argentina

MLS expansion team Atlanta United FC announced on Tuesday that Gerardo “Tata” Martino will be its first head coach. Atlanta will begin play in the 2017 season.

Martino brings a decorated resume to the job, having previously coached the Argentina and Paraguay men’s national teams as well as FC Barcelona.

“We are delighted that a manager of Gerardo’s caliber and pedigree will be leading our team into our inaugural season,” said Atlanta United president Darren Eales. “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. We’re confident in his ability to help build a winning culture both on and off the pitch.”

Martino, 53, most recently led Argentina to back-to-back appearances in the Copa America final, losing to Chile both times. He was 20-4-5 in charge of La Albiceleste. He managed Barcelona in the 2013-14 campaign, losing the La Liga title to Atletico Madrid on the final day of the season. He won 13 of his first 14 matches in charge that season.

“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.”

Martino also recently coached Brazilian club Newell’s Old Boys from 2012-2013. He spent the bulk of his career playing there.

Atlanta United FC will enter MLS alongside Minnesota United FC next season.