The Atlanta Silverbacks have appointed former interim head coach and U.S. soccer legend Eric Wynalda as the team’s technical director, the club announced Monday.
“I’m thrilled to continue my relationship with the Silverbacks, and I’m just excited to try and help the club achieve the success on the field that they’re striving for,” Wynalda said. “I know how serious the organization is about winning a NASL championship and also making a run in the U.S. Open Cup, so I’m looking forward to working with Brian Haynes and the rest of the organization to meet those goals.”
Wynalda, 43, will be filling a new role with the Silverbacks after serving as the club’s interim head coach and team advisor during the second half of the 2012 season. The former U.S. Men’s National Team star helped orchestrate an impressive turnaround for a team that managed only eight points through its first 14 games. The team posted the league’s best record over the last nine games of the season under Wynalda and Brian Haynes, who he hired as the team’s permanent head coach in early August.
Upon arriving to Atlanta, Wynalda brought in eight new players – six of which had ties to Cal FC, the amateur team that he led to the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup in 2012. Of those six players, two of them, midfielder Danny Barrera and forward Pedro Mendes, took home NASL Player of the Week honors for their outstanding play.
“We couldn’t be more excited to introduce Eric as our new technical director,” said Silverbacks General Manager Andy Smith. “He has a tremendous knowledge of the game, great connections within the soccer community, and a true understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish on and off the field here in Atlanta.”
Haynes will manage all team-related decisions and will handle the day-to-day operations of the team, while Wynalda will focus on player development and scouting. The two joined forces to post a 6-4-4 record during the second half of the season, a spell that included an undefeated September.
Wynalda is most known for his exploits on the field for the U.S. Men’s National Team. The Westlake Village, California native ranks second on the all-time scoring list with 34 goals and represented the U.S. in three different FIFA World Cups. Since retiring as a player, Wynalda has been a prominent TV personality and currently serves as one of the lead analysts for FOX Soccer.
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