MLS expansion team Atlanta names Carlos Bocanegra technical director ahead of 2017 debut
MLS expansion side Atlanta has named former U.S. men's national team captain Carlos Bocanegra as technical director ahead of its first campaign in 2017.
Bocanegra, 35, retired from professional soccer at the end of last season and expressed his desire to stay active in the game.
This role gives him a chance to leverage the knowledge cultivated over a 15-year career to build the expansion team from scratch in preparation for its debut in two years' time. He is expected to oversee soccer operations, including the development of a scouting network and a youth academy, when he starts with the club in April.
"I feel very fortunate to have played the game of soccer professionally for so many years and am excited to be part of something special here in Atlanta," Bocanegra said in a statement. "I've always wanted to stay involved with soccer at the top level, and to have that opportunity with MLS Atlanta is a great way to start this next chapter. I'm a competitor and I look forward to bringing that drive and passion into everything I do here in Atlanta."
MLS Atlanta president Darren Eales cited Bocanegra's vast experience -- including spells with Fulham, Glasgow Rangers, Rennes and Saint-Etienne and two FIFA World Cup appearances for his country -- as the driving force behind his appointment.
"We're very pleased to have Carlos join us as technical director," Eales said in a statement. "With over 100 caps for his country, and experience playing both in MLS and top European leagues, he will bring a special skill set and presence to our club. He has an excellent reputation as a mature, confident leader and we have no doubt that he will thrive in the front office as much as he did on the pitch."
Bocanegra is the first major technical appointment for the new Atlanta franchise. Eales, a former executive with Tottenham Hotspur, joined the club last year to lead the club from the business side in the buildup to its first campaign.