NEW YORK (November 13, 2018) – Major League Soccer today announced Atlanta United head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino as the 2018 MLS Coach of the Year.
Martino made waves this regular season with a coaching philosophy that featured complementary star players alongside developing young talents. His strategy led Atlanta United to the league’s best regular season road record (10-5-2), and in the process, tied the previous all-time points record (69) and surpassed the previous post-shootout single-season wins record (20) with 21 regular-season victories. Atlanta outscored every MLS club this year, netting consecutive 70-goal seasons for the first time in MLS history.
As Atlanta United approach the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Championship, Martino’s achievements have not been overlooked. Teams around the league took notice of his ability to attract world-class players, and his successes further showcased MLS as a desired coaching destination.
Over his two-year tenure, Martino’s coaching style has featured star power with an eye on the future. This season, Atlanta’s two MLS Best XI player honorees were also two of the top five Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player candidates in 24-year-old Miguel Almirón, and 25-year-old Josef Martínez. While Martínez set a new single-season scoring record with 31 goals, Martino also groomed a trio of teenagers, including 19-year-old Ezequiel Barco, 16-year-old George Bello, and 18-year-old Andrew Carleton, who combined for more than 2,000 minutes, 23 starts, and 36 appearances.
Martino made MLS his league of choice on Sept. 27, 2016, when Atlanta United named him the first head coach in club history. He has since led the club to consecutive postseason appearances with a fast-paced offense that ranked top-two in goal differential over his two years at the helm. By securing the most aggregate points totals from their 2017 and 2018 campaigns, Atlanta earned a berth to the 2019 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League (CCL).
Prior to joining Atlanta, Martino garnered coaching experience at the highest levels. He led the Argentina National Team back to a No. 1 FIFA world ranking in 2015 after guiding the Paraguay National Team to their best-ever World Cup performance in 2010. On the club side, the former South American Coach of the Year also managed FC Barcelona to a second-place finish after his turnaround for Newell’s Old Boys (Argentina) led to a Torneo Final victory in 2013, the same year he won Copa Libertadores.
As a player for Newell’s Old Boys, Martino still holds the record for games played, and he led them to three Argentine Primera Division titles before transferring to CD Tenerife in Spain’s La Liga.
Martino received 32.72 percent of the average vote, compiled from three groups: active players, media and club technical staff.