By DAN KARELL
The Atlanta Silverbacks are set to experiment with a new kind of soccer management.
The club announced on Tuesday at a press conference that they are eliminating the head coaching position, allowing technical director Eric Wynalda to manage the team while also remaining as an analyst for Fox Sports 1. Wynalda will manage all of the team’s games and take charge of “key practices,” while a group of assistant coaches deal with the day-to-day training of the players.
“The organization has tremendous belief in Eric Wynalda’s system of play. Heading into the offseason, we asked ourselves how we could get back to following that system,” Silverbacks chairman Boris Jerkunica said in a statement. “We’ve come to the conclusion of re-engineering Eric’s role, and that will include managing the team’s training sessions and games. We believe in Eric’s vision and we consider him to be part of our long-term plans.”
Wynalda served as the team’s interim head coach in 2012 before stepping back to be the Silverbacks’ technical director. The former U.S. Men’s National Team star has publicly stated in the past that he would like to be a full-time head coach in the future.
Here are some more stories from around NASL:
SZETELA SIGNS EXTENSION TO REMAIN WITH COSMOS
Following his first professional season after nearly four years away from soccer, Danny Szetela has pledged his future to the New York Cosmos.
The club announced on Tuesday that Szetela has signed a contract extension to keep him in New York for next season. Per club and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. Sources close to the situation told SBI that Szetela’s club option was picked up at the end of last season but the club wanted a contract extension to ward off MLS interest.
“The Cosmos gave me the opportunity to return to the field after a very tough couple of years and I wanted to repay the club’s faith in me,” Szetela said in an official release. “Right now I’m really enjoying my soccer and I’m grateful for the tremendous support the fans and my teammates have shown me. I’m excited to move forward with the Cosmos.”
After coming off the bench in two of the first three games of the season, Szetela stepped into central midfield in place of Joseph Nane and immediately solidified his place in the lineup alongside veteran midfielder Marcos Senna. In all, Szetela played in 13 matches with 11 starts, scoring once.
ROWDIES SIGN SWEDISH MIDFIELDER
The Tampa Bay Rowdies have announced a deal with a former player of current Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter.
The Rowdies signed 27-year-old Swedish midfielder Christophe Lallet to a two-year contract, the second year being a club option. Lallet comes from Swedish club Hammarby, where he played for two seasons in the second division.
“Christophe will be a tremendous addition to the club next season,” said club owner Bill Edwards. “He has been a fan favorite in Sweden for the past few years and I have no doubt he will become the same in St. Petersburg.”
Last season, Lallet scored six goals in 28 appearances with the club. Prior to joining Hammarby, Lallet spent four years with Degerfors, scoring 24 times in 80 matches.
SCORPIONS PRESIDENT BLASTS COSMOS OVER DENISSEN SIGNING
The New York Cosmos made waves Thursday when it was announced that they had signed NASL Best XI forward Hans Denissen from the San Antonio Scorpions.
Now, Scorpions president Howard Cornfield has gone public with his outrage at the Cosmos spending, claiming that there was no way Denissen could have turned down the contract offer. Though there’s no salary cap in NASL, Cornfield seems to believe that the league owners should all have an understanding to keep spending lower, instead of having one team outspend everyone else.
“It was so ridiculous that I honestly sat with Hans and I said, ‘For the good of your family, how do you say no to this?’” Cornfield told the San Antonio Express News. “The teams in our league have to make a decision whether they’re interested in buying championships or making this a viable league that’s respected throughout the world.
“I’m not going to critique the way these people run their franchises. I don’t like the way some of their decisions affect us. But I also take it as a challenge that we’re going to beat them with our model. They can’t compete with us on our business model.”
It’s the second straight year that the Scorpions have lost their leading goal-scorer. After the 2012 season, Pablo Campos moved to Minnesota United.
What do you think of these reports? Like the Silverbacks decision to get rid of the head coaching position? Do you see them winning the spring season? Glad to see Szetela back with the Cosmos?
Share your thoughts below.