While Atlanta United has only just finished its third season, Five Stripe fans have already seen a great deal of success on and off the field. Because of that success, Atlanta fans have come to love certain figures in and around Atlanta United.
I’ve decided to compile my Mount Rushmore of key figures that have brought Atlanta United to the forefront of American soccer over the past few years.
The city of Atlanta has fallen in love with Martinez. His scoring record, confidence, and love for the fans have made him the most renowned Atlanta United player thus far. The striker signed a new five-year deal last year and has gone on record to say he loves Atlanta and its fans. He’s been pretty unhappy at some previous stops throughout his career, so he is undoubtedly happy to know the love between him and the city is mutual. Martinez could be Atlanta’s captain at some point in the future and is currently on course to become an Atlanta sports icon.
Parkhurst captained Atlanta United throughout the club’s first three years. The American center back was crucial for Atlanta’s title-winning side and was an excellent example of how each and every player should conduct themselves on and off the field. During 2019, he was reduced to a substituent role under Frank de Boer. Nevertheless, he remained professional and continued to make an impact off the bench and during training. Arguably, his most important moment on the field was during the 2018 MLS Cup final when he made a crucial slide tackle that led to Atlanta’s first goal of the match.
Gerardo “Tata” Martino
Though he is no longer at the club, former Atlanta United manager is the main reason many players are at the club today. Tata, an Argentina native, is a legendary figure in South American soccer. He’s the main reason why the club was able to attract players such as Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez, Ezequiel Barco, and many more. Tata was given the chance to build a team literally from the ground up and given his vast experience from coaching teams such as FC Barcelona and the Paraguayan and Argentine national teams, he was the perfect manager to bring Atlanta United’s dreams to reality. He may have only won one trophy during his two-year stint in Atlanta, but that MLS Cup victory cemented his status as an Atlanta United great.
Uncle Arthur. The man that brought MLS and Atlanta United to a city with a fan base without a club to support. Blank reportedly wanted to bring an MLS team to the city in the early 2000’s and he finally got his wish in 2014, a testament to his perseverance and belief in his vision. Blank, Atlanta United president Darren Eales, and technical director Carlos Bocanegra have all made the club what it’s become and known for. Their vision has spurred the club to the forefront of American soccer.
Photo Credits: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Soto is the Sports Content Marketing Director at The Wolf Internet Radio. You can follow Kyle for soccer content on Twitter @kyledsoto.