Former Real Madrid and Man United player Gabriel Heinze have been dismissed from his post as head coach of Atlanta FC. The 43-year-old left the team after 13 games in the MLS. Atlanta sacked Heinze after he won only two of his 13 games at the helm.
“It was not the decision we wanted to make at this stage of the season, but it was the right one for the club,” said Atlanta president Darren Eales, reports Goal.com “Gabi is a talented coach and is undeniably passionate about his craft and the sport of soccer. We are grateful to him for his service and wish him all the best in the future.”
Atlanta, who won the MLS title in 2018 in only their second season as an expansion club, added in a statement that “a variety of issues relating to the day-to-day leadership of the team” led to Heinze’s dismissal.
Under Heinze, the team has managed to win twice in 13 games and have tied seven times which led them to 10th place in the Eastern Conference. “The tactics and soccer side are one thing, but there was so much going on off the field that players were mentally drained on a daily basis,” one source inside the club said.
In a tweet, Atlanta FC wrote: “Gabriel Heinze Relieved of Duties as Atlanta United Head Coach. Club President Darren Eales and Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra to address the media at 4 pm today.”
“Over the last really couple of months there have been some issues that were concerning us that were not really related to the performance on the pitch or the Josef issue and that culminated in our decision today,” Eales said. “We have to get the next hire right,” Eales said. “We know that’s important. … We’re going to do our due diligence to find the right fit.”
Eales and technical director Carlos Bocanegra will hunt for a new full-time head coach until then Assistant coach Rob Valentino will take over on an interim basis.