ATLANTA — Atlanta United today announced it has named Gonzalo Pineda as the club’s new head coach. Pineda will be under contract through the 2024 season.
Following a 13-year playing career, Pineda has been an assistant coach with Seattle Sounders FC since 2017. Rob Valentino (assistant) and Liam Curran (goalkeeping) will stay on staff, while Pineda will bring on Diego de la Torre, who recently served as head coach at Cafetaleros de Chiapas in Mexico. Pineda will be formally introduced to media during a press conference at 1:00 p.m. today and is scheduled to join the team in Atlanta next week with his first training session Thursday. Valentino will continue to serve as interim coach for the club’s next two games.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Gonzalo as the head coach of Atlanta United,” Club President Darren Eales said. “Building off an illustrious international playing career, Gonzalo joined Seattle’s coaching staff and played an integral role in the club’s success over the last few years. He has a thorough understanding of MLS and has proven to be one of the top assistants in the league. He is a great fit for our club from a cultural and technical perspective, and we’re excited to have a long-term commitment in place.”
One of the highest-regarded assistant coaches in Major League Soccer, the 38-year-old Pineda has been an influential member of Seattle’s coaching staff for five seasons, helping guide the club to three MLS Cup appearances, including winning it in 2019. As a player, Pineda spent 11 seasons playing in Liga MX, two in MLS and represented Mexico at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
“This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime and I’m really excited to become Atlanta United’s head coach,” Pineda said. “I want to thank Arthur Blank, Steve Cannon, as well as Darren and Carlos for entrusting me in this position. I’m arriving to a club that already has a system in place to help the players and coaching staff deliver good results for the supporters. I’m looking forward to arriving in Atlanta and meeting with everyone at the club.”
Pineda began his professional career with UNAM Pumas in 2003 and spent three seasons with the Mexico City-based club where he won the 2004 Liga MX Clausura and Apertura titles. The central midfielder joined C.D. Guadalajara in 2006 where he won the Liga MX Apertura championship in his first season. With Chivas, Pineda went on to make 145 appearances and scored six goals across all competitions.
Following loan spells with San Luis, Cruz Azul, Puebla and Querétaro, Pineda moved to MLS and joined Seattle Sounders ahead of the 2014 season. There he made 56 league appearances, scored four goals and recorded nine assists across two seasons in addition to leading the team to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield titles in 2014.
“Gonzalo has a great tactical mind and is someone I’ve always respected as a competitor with the Mexican National Team,” Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “During his time at Seattle, he’s shown tactical acumen, the ability to develop young talent and the understanding of what it takes to win in this league. He has a thorough knowledge of MLS and the league’s player pool, including our team. We’re confident he can make a smooth transition to our club.”
Pineda was first called up to the Mexican National Team in 2004 and made his debut Sept. 8 against Trinidad and Tobago in a World Cup Qualifying match. He appeared in all five matches during the 2005 Confederations Cup, starting four. Pineda scored his lone goal for Mexico during the 2005 Gold Cup against Colombia. He helped Mexico qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, appearing in 10 matches. Pineda was selected to the 2006 FIFA World Cup roster under Ricardo La Volpe where he appeared in all four of Mexico’s matches and started three. Head coach Hugo Sánchez called Pineda up for the 2007 Copa América where he made three appearances and helped Mexico finish in third place.
ABOUT ATLANTA UNITED
Atlanta United joined Major League Soccer in 2017 and won the 2018 MLS Cup in just its second season, the earliest an expansion team has won the title since 1998. The club has set multiple league records including season tickets sales (36,000-plus), single-game attendance (72,548), single-season average (53,002) and total home attendance (901,033). Owned by Arthur M. Blank, and led by club President Darren Eales, Atlanta United plays its home matches at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. For more information about Atlanta United, including how to purchase season tickets, visit: www.atlutd.com, and follow @ATLUTD.