“I am excited to take on this new challenge with Atlanta United,” said incoming Atlanta United head coach Gabriel Heinze. “I believe that my football philosophy is aligned with the vision of the club and its structure and facilities are world class. I can’t wait to meet the players, staff and fans and get to work in 2021. “
Atlanta United announced Friday that it has agreed to a two-year contract with Gabriel Heinze to become the third head coach in club history.
El Gringo arrives preceded by a brilliant career. He quickly established himself as one of the most promising coaches in world football, highlighted by his most recent two-and-a-half-year stint at Velez Sarsfield. During the 2019-20 season, Heinze impressively led the league’s third-youngest team to third place.
Heinze will be formally introduced to the media during a press conference via Zoom on Monday, December 21.
“This is a historic moment in Atlanta United history, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Gabriel as our next head coach,” said club president Darren Eales. “We searched widely for this important hire and Gabriel quickly emerged as the number one candidate. Gabriel is one of the best coaches in South American soccer and we are delighted that he chose Atlanta United. While his résumé speaks for itself, Gabriel’s playing philosophy and commitment to youth development align closely with our ideas at Atlanta United, and we are pleased to welcome him as we move into the next chapter of our club. ” .
After an illustrious playing career that included time at Manchester United, Real Madrid and Paris St. Germain, Heinze retired from the pitch in July 2014 and began working as a coach in the Argentine Primera División with Godoy Cruz. In the summer of 2016, he took over Argentinos Juniors in Argentina’s second division. In the 44-game season, the former star center-back led the team to a 25-6-13 (88 points) record to secure promotion for his team. That Argentinos Juniors team finished the year with a differential of + 37 goals.
After passing through Argentinos Juniors, Heinze moved to Vélez Sarsfield and took charge of one of the youngest teams in the Argentine top flight. After guiding the team to a mid-table finish in his first season, Velez Sarsfield improved to sixth place the following season. That gave the club qualification for the Copa Sudamericana for the first time since 2013.
The 5-Stripes Don’t Stop#ATLUTD appoints Gabriel Heinze as new head coach.
DETAILS: https://t.co/t4H6hvy7xg pic.twitter.com/zRr8YJTY36
– Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) December 18, 2020
The club’s rise in the table continued into the 2019-20 season, despite having a squad averaging just 23.5 years (the third-youngest in the league). Heinze led Velez Sarsfield to third place, the club’s highest result at the top since 2013-14. One of the club’s many season wins came on September 22, when Heinze led Vélez Sarsfield to a 2-1 away win at the Estadio Monumental against River Plate.
“Since we launched Atlanta United, our goal has been clear: to play an aggressive, attacking-minded style of play,” said vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra. “Gabriel fits that mold and has a dynamic style of play that aligns with our club identity, which is what we were specifically looking for in our next head coach. We are excited to bring him to Atlanta and get down to business on a promising 2021 season. “
In the establishment there are Argentineans: Marcelino Moreno; Ezequiel Barco; Fernando Meza, Eric Remedi and Franco Escobar.
AS A PLAYER; HEINZE ALSO SHINED
Heinze’s playing career began in 1996 with Newell’s Old Boys in his native Argentina. The talented center-back only stayed one season before moving to Europe to Real Valladolid in Spain. For the next 15 years, Heinze played for some of the biggest clubs in the world, including Paris St. Germain, Manchester United, and Real Madrid.
The Argentine made more than 450 appearances throughout his career in Europe, more than 150 of them in Ligue 1 in France, 98 in La Liga, 52 in the Premier League and 41 in the UEFA Champions League. He scored 26 goals during his time in Europe and won seven major trophies, including league titles in England, Spain and France.
Following his stint in Europe, Heinze returned to his first professional club Newell’s Old Boys in 2012 and played his last two professional years in his native country. He helped the club win the final of the 2013 Tournament, giving the star defender four league titles in four different countries.
Heinze was a fixture in the Argentine National Team for many years. His debut came in 2003 and ended with 73 international appearances. He played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, reaching the Quarterfinals in each. He helped Argentina reach two Copa América finals in 2004 and 2007. In 2004, under the guidance of one of his mentors, Marcelo Bielsa (currently Leeds United manager), Heinze helped Argentina win the Gold Medal at the Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. He scored in the opening match, while Argentina did not concede a goal throughout the tournament.