Atlanta United Taps Former Man Utd, Real Madrid CB Gabriel Heinze As New Coach

Heinze has been coaching in Argentina since retiring as a player five years ago.

Atlanta United named Gabriel Heinze as head coach Friday, ending a five-month search for a new manager. Heinze, 42, most recently coached Velez Sarsfield (2017-20) in his native Argentina.

He replaces Frank de Boer, who was sacked in July after Atlanta went 0-3 in the MLS is Back Tournament. Stephen Glass served as interim coach while the United completed a disappointing 2020 season in 12th place in the Eastern Conference.

"This is a milestone moment in Atlanta United history, and we couldn't be more excited to welcome Gabriel as our next head coach," club president Darren Eales said in a news release. "We cast the net widely for this important hire, and Gabriel quickly emerged as the No. 1 candidate. Gabriel is one of the top coaches in South American soccer and we are delighted that he chose Atlanta United.

"Whilst his resume speaks for itself, Gabriel's playing philosophy and commitment to youth development closely align with our ideas at Atlanta United, and we are happy to welcome him as we move into our club's next chapter."

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Heinze becomes the third full-time head coach of the Five Stripes, following Gerardo "Tata" Martino (2016-18) and de Boer (2018-20). Atlanta won the MLS Cup in 2018 and the U.S. Open Cup in 2019.

"Since we launched Atlanta United, our objective has been clear to play an aggressive, attack-minded style of play," technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a release. "Gabriel fits that mold and has a dynamic playing style that aligns with the identity of our club, which is what we were specifically looking for in our next head coach. We're excited to get him into Atlanta and to get to work on a promising 2021 season."

An accomplished defender during his playing career (1996-2014), Heinze won league titles at Manchester United, Real Madrid and Marseille and played with Paris-Saint Germain, Roma and Newell's Old Boys. Internationally, he earned 72 caps with Argentina, played in two World Cups (2006, 2010) and won a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Glass will return to his role as head coach of the club's USL Championship affiliate, Atlanta United 2.

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