Adiós! Tata Martino is leaving Atlanta United
Many heard rumors among the media for weeks, but those in Atlanta hoped to never see the day come. Geraldo “Tata” Martino is leaving Atlanta United.
After many reports linking Martino and the Mexican Soccer Federation, Martino’s camp declined Atlanta United’s contract extension which was revealed on Tuesday morning.
“This was not an easy decision to make, I have enjoyed my time with Atlanta United very much and am proud of what we have accomplished together in such a short time,” said Martino. “The decision was not made for financial reasons, negotiations with the front office were transparent and fair. It was simply the right move for me and my family at this time. The opportunity to build a team from the start does not come along often, and I am grateful to the club and to the fans for putting their trust in me to establish a solid foundation here in Atlanta. What is most important now is that the focus remain on our goals for this season.”
The news comes at a less than ideal time as Atlanta United looks to claim the MLS Supporter’s Shield in the next week and MLS Cup in the coming month. One may wonder if the news will become a distraction to a squad that just this week tied the MLS record(69) for points in a season.
Atlanta United media relations has confirmed that the club will look for an immediate replacement for Martino, who will finish out the season with the club.
“We are very grateful to Tata for his commitment to Atlanta United and for all he has done to help build our club during our first two years in the league,” said Atlanta United president Darren Eales. “True to his reputation, he has been an incredible leader and has set us up for great success moving forward. From the beginning, his vision for Atlanta United was aligned with ours, and his level of experience, talent and leadership has been extremely valuable during this critical time. He will be missed, but we understand and appreciate his reasons for moving on to spend time with family and take on new challenges.”
Serving as Atlanta United’s first manager, Martino won 52% of the matches he coached in two seasons with a 38-17-17 record to date. Over the last two seasons, no team in MLS has claimed more points (124), scored more goals (139) or posted a higher goal differential (+59) than Atlanta.