Atlanta United Names Javier Pérez as Director of Methodology


Atlanta United today announced it has named Javier Perez as Director of Methodology, a newly created position to replace Academy Director. Reporting directly to Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra, Perez brings more than 20 years of player development experience and authored the U.S. Soccer Coaching Curriculum. Matt Lawrey, who has been the club’s Academy Director since 2021, has moved into an on-field role, serving as an individual development coach.

“First off I would like to thank Matt Lawrey for his dedication and leadership during his time as Academy Director and we are happy he will continue working within the club in a new role that he is passionate about,” Bocanegra said. “We are incredibly excited to welcome Javier to Atlanta United. As our Academy evolves, we continue to enhance all facets of our player pathway and Javier’s years of high-level experience in youth development and within MLS will prove invaluable.”

As Director of Methodology, Perez will be tasked with overseeing the club’s youth development. Working closely with Bocanegra, Perez will enhance the club’s curriculum and methodology throughout each age group to strengthen continuity in the development pathway starting with its Academy Futures program all the way through Atlanta United 2.

Perez was part of Toronto FC’s coaching staff for the 2021 MLS season, where he acted as an assistant coach before being promoted to interim head coach in July. Perez was then named head coach for the remainder of the season in August 2021, going on to lead Toronto FC to the Canadian Cup Final. Perez joined Toronto from New York City FC where he served as an assistant coach from 2016-20 and helped guide the club to a first place Eastern Conference finish in 2019.

“I’m thrilled to join Atlanta United, which has established itself in a short amount of time as a club with a robust academy operation and is capable of developing young talent into professionals,” Perez said. “I’m eager to work in tandem with Carlos and the talented staff within the Academy and ATL UTD 2 to continue building on the momentum and success they’ve created in the club’s first eight years.”

Prior to his experience in MLS, Perez worked for the U.S. Men’s National Team from 2012-16. During his tenure as an assistant coach with the USMNT, Perez helped lead the U.S. to the Round of 16 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, qualifying from a group that included eventual champions Germany, as well as Portugal and Ghana. During that time, Perez also served as the head coach for U.S. U-18s and was an assistant for the U-20s that made a Quarterfinal run in the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, losing in penalties to eventual champions Serbia.

Perez began his coaching career in Spain where he served as head coach for various age groups of Real Madrid’s youth teams at the club’s foundation from 2001-07. He also worked as an Associate Director for Educational Programs for the Royal Spanish Football Federation from 2004-07. Perez has a PhD in exercise physiology, a master's degree in sports science and a bachelor's degree in physical education. Additionally, he holds a UEFA Pro license from the Spanish Federation, a UEFA A license from the English FA and speaks five languages – Spanish, English, French, German and Italian.