ATLANTA — The Atlanta Silverbacks announced on Thursday that assistant coach Brian Haynes has assumed the team's head coaching position following the departure of Eric Wynalda, who was serving in an interim role.
"I already knew coming in that Brian was a very capable coach, and that is why I brought him here to Atlanta as an assistant," Wynalda said. "Over the course of the last month, however, I was amazed at how many things we saw eye-to-eye on, so I can say that the team is in great hands with Brian in charge."
The club wanted to work with Wynalda's schedule at FOX Soccer, where he is employed as one of their primary TV analysts, to keep him as the coach in Atlanta for longer, but with the international soccer calendar underway, it was too difficult. Wynalda will remain with the club as a team advisor, a role that will entail periodic visits back to Atlanta. The former U.S. Men's National Team star posted a 3-1-3 record as the team's interim head coach, helping the team climb back into the NASL playoff hunt.
A native of Couva, Trinidad, Haynes takes over as head coach after serving as the team's primary assistant coach since July 11. The 50-year-old Haynes, a former midfielder, moves up to the head coaching ranks with six seasons of experience serving as an assistant coach for MLS side FC Dallas (formerly Dallas Burn), where he also spent five seasons as a player.
Less than two weeks ago, Haynes guided the Silverbacks to a 4-2 win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in Wynalda's absence, an experience that he feels was very important for the team moving forward.
"It was nice to get a taste of what it feels like to win a game when you're fully in charge of a team," Haynes said. "It makes you feel good that you can do your job and have the players respect you as the head coach. Once again, I'm very excited for this opportunity and I owe a lot to Eric for believing in me as a coach."
With the appointment of Haynes came another announcement on Thursday, as Silverbacks Reserves Head Coach Ricardo Montoya was named assistant coach of the professional side. Montoya has been in charge of the organization's reserve team since 2007, and has recently been helping the professional side with coaching and scouting following the end of the Reserves' NPSL season.
"Ricardo is a great coach and has proven to be one of the club's biggest assets," Wynalda said. "Whether it is through coaching or scouting, he has been an extremely hard-working professional, and he deserves to have this opportunity."
"I would like to thank Eric and Brian for the opportunity to work with them during the last 4 weeks, and I'm delighted to officially join the staff as an assistant," Montoya said. "The experience I've had learning from such great professionals has been thrilling and fun at the same time. I think that is the most important thing about this game - being passionate and having fun with it."
Also joining the professional team's coaching staff is assistant coach Alejandro Pombo and fitness coach Juan Castellanos, who both recently served on the Reserves staff under Montoya. All three of Haynes' new assistants will remain in charge of the Reserves on top of their new duties with the professional team.