Gerardo “Tata” Martino was announced as Atlanta United’s inaugural head coach on September 27, 2016. A former professional player and coach at the highest levels of both club and international football, Martino has most notably led the Argentina National Team, Paraguay National Team and La Liga’s FC Barcelona during his prestigious 20-year coaching career.
Martino most recently managed the Argentina National Team from 2014 to 2016. He lead Argentina back to the No. 1 FIFA World ranking in July 2015, breaking an eight-year drought for the nation since their last top ranking in June 2008. Under Martino’s leadership, Argentina also appeared in the Copa America final in back-to-back years in 2015 and 2016, while finishing with a 20-4-5 overall record. Martino was the manager of Paraguay from 2006 to 2011, where he led La Albirroja to their best World Cup finish, advancing past the Round of 16 for the first time ever in South Africa in 2010. During his time at Paraguay, Martino was named the 2007 South American Coach of the Year after a strong showing in Copa America and World Cup Qualifying.
“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.”
At the club level, Martino’s most recent position was at FC Barcelona, where Martino’s team won 13 out of its first 14 league matches and was eventually drawn into a frenzied three-way battle for La Liga’s title, as Barcelona finished second with a league-high 100 goals and league-best +67 goal differential. Prior to that, Martino managed Newell’s Old Boys from 2011 to 2013, immediately turning around a club heading for relegation by finishing in sixth place in the Torneo Final (the second half of the Argentine football season) in 2012. The following season, Newell finished in second in the Torneo Inicial (first half of the Argentine season), before winning the Torneo Final in 2013. That same year, he also led the club to the semifinals of the 2013 Copa Libertadores.
The playing style he inspires in his players and teams is centered around three core principles: attack-minded football, creative playmaking, and quick-passing.
“Gerardo’s teams have always been organized and have displayed a fast and fluid style that aligns with how we intend to play,” said Atlanta United Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra. “He’s also demonstrated a commitment to youth soccer, consistently proving his ability to enhance the progression of younger players. He’s a great fit for our club and I look forward to working with him to build a successful club.”
Martino also starred at Newell’s Old Boys as a player, where he still holds the club record for games played. During his time, Martino helped guide the club to three Argentine Primera Division titles before the attacking midfielder was eventually moved to CD Tenerife, of Spain’s La Liga.