Tata Martino will leave Atlanta United after season’s end

Atlanta United will begin its second coaching search in franchise history after Tata Martino declined a contract extension and announced he will not return to the Five Stripes following the 2018 season. The team will open a “global search” for Martino’s replacement.

“This was not an easy decision to make, I have enjoyed my time with Atlanta United very much and am proud of what we have accomplished together in such a short time,” Martino said in a statement. “The decision was not made for financial reasons, negotiations with the front office were transparent and fair. It was simply the right move for me and my family at this time.

“The opportunity to build a team from the start does not come along often, and I am grateful to the club and to the fans for putting their trust in me to establish a solid foundation here in Atlanta. What is most important now is that the focus remain on our goals for this season.”

In his two seasons under Martino’s guidance, Atlanta United has posted a 37-17-17 record and back-to-back playoff appearances.

After a first-round playoff exit in 2017, the Five Stripes are the MLS title favorites behind the likes of league superstars Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez.

The former Argentinian and Paraguayan national team coach is rumored to be the frontrunner to take Mexico‘s national team job.

“We are very grateful to Tata for his commitment to Atlanta United and for all he has done to help build our club during our first two years in the league,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said in a statement. “True to his reputation, he has been an incredible leader and has set us up for great success moving forward. From the beginning, his vision for Atlanta United was aligned with ours, and his level of experience, talent and leadership has been extremely valuable during this critical time.

“He will be missed, but we understand and appreciate his reasons for moving on to spend time with family and take on new challenges.”