Atlanta United have confirmed that Gabriel Heinze will be the club's new head coach.
The 42-year-old Argentine has signed a two-year contract with the MLS side, joining after spending two and a half seasons in charge of Velez Sarsfield.
After a playing career that saw him represent Manchester United, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain among others, Heinze retired in 2014 and began a coaching career.
After a brief spell in charge of Godoy Cruz, Heinze took over Argentinos Juniors and led the club to promotion from the second division before later taking over at Velez Sarsfield.
“We cast the net widely for this important hire, and Gabriel quickly emerged as the number one candidate," Atlanta United president Darren Eales said in a club release.
"Gabriel is one of the top coaches in South American soccer and we are delighted that he chose Atlanta United. Whilst his resume speaks for itself, Gabriel’s playing philosophy and commitment to youth development closely align with our ideas at Atlanta United, and we are happy to welcome him as we move into our club’s next chapter.”
Atlanta United sacked Frank de Boer in July after a season and a half in charge, replacing the Dutchman with Stephen Glass on an interim basis. Heinze will be the club's third full-time head coach, as his fellow Argentine, Gerardo "Tata" Martino, led the club to MLS Cup in 2018 before departing to take charge of the Mexico national team.
“I’m excited to be taking on this new challenge with Atlanta United,” Heinze said. “I believe that my football philosophy is aligned with the vision of the club and their structure and facilities are world class. I can’t wait to meet the players, the staff and the fans and get to work in 2021.”
Heinze will be tasked with helping the club recover from a difficult 2020 campaign that saw them finish in 12th place in the Eastern Conference and miss out on the playoffs.
“Since we launched Atlanta United, our objective has been clear to play an aggressive, attack-minded style of play,” technical director Carlos Bocanegra said. “Gabriel fits that mold and has a dynamic playing style that aligns with the identity of our club, which is what we were specifically looking for in our next head coach.
"We’re excited to get him into Atlanta and to get to work on a promising 2021 season.”