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From Messi to Kenwyne Jones: Atlanta Utd sign ‘Tata’ Martino as franchise coach

Soca Warriors captain Kenwyne Jones will be guided from the sidelines next season by a man whose last centre forward was Argentine sensation and global superstar Lionel Messi.

New United States Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise, Atlanta United, announced today that former Argentina and Barcelona coach, Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, will head their technical staff next year for their inaugural competitive season.

Photo: Then Barcelona coach Gerald "Tata" Martino (right) passes on instructions to five time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi. (Copyright EPA)
Photo: Then Barcelona coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino (right) passes on instructions to five time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi.
(Copyright EPA)

Martino steered Argentina to two successive Copa America finals in 2015 and 2016 but lost on penalties to Chile in both games. His record as national coach comprised 19 wins, seven draws and three losses.

He quit in July over what he referred to as “serious problems” with the Argentinian FA, which was under a normalisation committee at the time.

Martino coached Messi at Barcelona as well, where he led them to second place in La Liga in 2013-14, while he steered Paraguay to the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals and took Newell’s Old Boys to the 2013 Copa Libertadores semifinal.

Atlanta, which sold an expansion team record 22,000 season tickets for their debut season, are thrilled to have secured Tata.

“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.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Kenwyne Jones takes a breather during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Friday 2 September 2016. (Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868
Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Kenwyne Jones takes a breather during Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying action at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain on Friday 2 September 2016.
(Courtesy Chevaughn Christopher/Wired868

Martino will now be expected to help the club fill its roster, which has just seven players at present. Jones, who is on loan at local Pro League team, Central FC, is far and away Atlanta’s most experienced player and the only squad member with more than a handful of senior international caps.

Jones is due to join Atlanta for pre-season training on 1 January 2017.  And he cannot wait to meet his new coach.

“I’m really happy that Martino has made the decision to join us at Atlanta United,” said Jones, via his publicist. “He’s played at all levels of football, he’s led Argentina to the top spot in the FIFA World Ranking, and he’s been at the coaching helm for one of the biggest clubs in the world, FC Barcelona.

“He is a leader in every sense of the word, and I respect him a lot.”

The former England Premier League forward with Southampton, Sunderland, Stoke City and Cardiff City said he is more anxious than ever to suit up for his new MLS employers, Atlanta.

“Definitely, it’s a good look because it shows that the club is out to make a big impact,” said Jones. “I’m excited to join camp next year, management is making historic moves, and the Atlanta United fans should be looking forward to great times for the 2017 season.”

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76 comments

  1. ..Just realized I in the wrong thread. LOL..

  2. ..But, to be fair, congratulations to Central FC on their new sponsorship deal. THAT is the way it should be done…

  3. taking that job come like you was training thorough breeds horses and the owner demote you 2 train the donkeys and rake up the horse shit

  4. man now get a quality player in the locker

  5. Allyuh men really cynical ayah …. give yuh countryman a lil luv nah …jeezuweez

  6. Mr. Bound not to score won’t be lasting two seasons eh who wants to bet. Them really good yes

  7. Santa claus more real than that

  8. But wait…them hire players before coach ?

    I thought was only West Indies and Caribbean sports that happens…Kenwyne days numbered there oui

  9. Looks like a major step down – not just in team quality but also he must have taken a major pay cut

  10. Hope he have ah tight drawers.

  11. Yeah the same Mr Live Wire who said some time ago that it will be a disrespect for my Trini foreign base Coach Hart to go and see the Trini player in England who was playing in the second division eh so where is our very own Levi Garcia playing now eh not in the same second division eh Them really good yes hahaha

    • Ahmmm. No. Levi Garcia is a top flight player. And I have no problem with us scouting a second division player.
      The guy you were talking about was playing in the Conference which is largely semi pro. My national coach will have to use his own money if he wants to fly to England to scout semi pro games!

    • Well he didn’t even had to travel the TTFA just needed to have tryouts in our sweet country and I am positively certain that our foreign base players will get there to be seen .

  12. Earl Mango Pierre Mr. Live wire or armchair journalist ???

  13. But doh hut up alyuh heads eh not only I will be returning to our sweet country with the videos of the greatest player in the universe eh to show Mr Live Wire and all other Argentina critics eh I am also bringing a prolific goalscoring video for Mr Bound not to score eh and if after he sees this video eh he should be on like boil corn eh hahahaha

  14. ..Yuh cyah win nutten wit a coach name TATA. Lasana. Ah tired tell yuh dat. LOL..

  15. Earl Mango Pierre you said it best ☺

  16. What madness am I reading here eh so this new professional team in the America contracted Mr Bound not to score eh and is now hiring a real professional Coach from a real professional league eh, well I guess he will also be recruiting a real prolific goalscorer eh Them really good yes hahahaha

  17. He only works with big players clearly

  18. He would have never moved to MLS if things were running smoothly – at least by his standards – back at home. Waiting until the adjustment period is over to see how this collaboration unfolds.

  19. Yeah boi… we taking that. Interesting to see our style of play considering the coach and our lead striker. We have to sign some additional talent. Word is we trying to acquire Guadardo so we will see.

  20. Brent Bennett, allyuh get a big coach!

  21. Tata finally coaching a real striker. 😀

  22. ..Double whammy. Them dead. LOL..

  23. I am not surprised by much, but this makes little sense. Matching an Argentine coach with KJ sounds a little like a gimic.. Waiting to see end product though..

  24. Kenwyne should give Messi a call to find out what Tata is like! 🙂

  25. ..Hahahahahaha. Them dead in the water from the git go..