Atlanta United has signed Carlos Bocanegra to a contract extension that will run until March of 2022 and promoted him to the position of Technical Director and Vice President.
“We are delighted to announce Carlos to a long-term contract extension,” said Atlanta United President Darren Eales. “Continuity and stability are critical in building and sustaining a successful organization. Carlos’ proven leadership and expertise has been instrumental in building our club’s foundation. He has built an elite-level, highly competitive roster from scratch and has forged seamless relationships with our players, [Head Coach] Tata Martino and [Director of Soccer Operations] Paul McDonough. He has also been instrumental in building a top-class Academy which currently has five players representing their countries in the FIFA U17 World Cup. I’m proud of the work Carlos and the technical team have done to contribute to our record-breaking inaugural season, and look forward to working with him to further build on the club’s success.”
Bocanegra was announced as technical director for Atlanta United on March 2, 2015 and immediately began to identify and recruit personnel for the club’s inaugural roster that eventually featured 14 players outside of MLS who had experience in a foreign country’s top division. Under Bocanegra’s leadership, along with Eales, Martino and McDonough, Atlanta United became the first expansion team to qualify for MLS Cup Playoffs since 2009 and only the second since 1998.
Bocanegra assembled what will go down as one of the most prolific attacks in league history, as the club is currently seventh all-time in goals scored in a single-season (68) and fourth all-time in goal differential (+30). That was spearheaded by the signing of a trio of Designated Players in Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron and Tito Villalba, who have combined to score 40 goals – currently more than four teams in MLS. Bocanegra also found success via other player acquisition mechanisms, drafting MLS Rookie of the Year frontrunner Julian Gressel with the No. 8 overall selection and signing Yamil Asad on loan from Velez Sarsfield.
The former U.S. Men’s National Team defender also built a stout defense that has allowed the third-fewest goals in MLS this season (38). Bocanegra started to build the backline in December of 2016, trading for center back Michael Parkhurst from Columbus Crew SC and signing left back Greg Garza on loan from Tijuana. Both players were named to the 2017 MLS All-Star Game. In early 2017, Bocanegra signed Carlos Carmona and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, who despite being new to MLS, have been lineup mainstays, starting a combined 59 games. Bocanegra also signed free agent and league veteran Jeff Larentowicz, who’s had one of his best seasons during his 13-year career.
A former captain of the United States Men’s National Team for six years, Bocanegra retired from play in 2014 after an esteemed 15-year career in professional soccer that included more than 200 career appearances in England, France and Scotland. He also made more than 100 appearances in MLS, where he was a two-time Defender of the Year selection.
Bocanegra was selected to the U.S. Men’s National Team for each of the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups, where he appeared in six total matches. He’s tied for 10th all-time in U.S. Soccer history with 110 caps. He also helped lead the USMNT to two Gold Cup victories in 2002 and 2007 and he scored an impressive 14 goals during his international career. He served as captain for the U.S. team 64 times during his international career.
Bocanegra was recently named the top technical director of 2017 by MLSsoccer.com.