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Atlanta Silverbacks

Eric Wynalda Has Earned a Chance to Manage at a High Level in the US

The Atlanta Silverbacks completed an improbable run to win the NASL Spring season title with a three to nothing victory over Minnesota United on Thursday night.

The victory came a year and one day after Eric Wynalda made his coaching debut for Atlanta against Carolina. At the time the Silverbacks sat at the bottom of the NASL table and had earned fewer points in a season and a half of NASL play than any other side had in a single season.

This begs the question about Wynalda. Despite all of the criticisms and “yes men” in US Soccer and MLS, has the time come for someone to break ranks and bring the USMNT legend who earned 107 caps into a more prominent role in the domestic game?

Critics of Eric Wynalda are numerous throughout the American soccer hierarchy.  Following a controversial speech at the 2012 NSCAA Convention, Wynalda led CAL FC, an amateur team with less than a month together, to the fourth round of the US Open Cup, shocking the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field in Round 3.

Wynalda, who was seeking a role in the game beyond his commentary duties at FOX Soccer, joined the Silverback as Interim Head Coach and Team Advisor in late June 2012.

The culture of the Silverbacks immediately changed and while Wynalda returned to FOX Soccer in mid-August 2012 for the beginning of the Premier League season, his handpicked Head Coach Brian Haynes took Atlanta out of the basement and finished the 2012 NASL Regular Season as the in-form team. Atlanta missed the playoffs but gave a statement of intent for 2013, by compiling the best record in the NASL after August 15.

Attendance for the club had risen from an average of 2,800 fans per game in 2011 to over 4,500 in 2012 under the new leadership. The near capacity crowds in 2012 saw the start of something unique and extraordinary, a remarkable turnaround of a franchise that had appeared to be dying on the vine in 2011.

Last night the Silverbacks clinched the NASL Spring Season title and will host the Soccer Bowl in November against the fall champion. With this accomplishment checked off, isn’t it about time the culture of conformity in US Soccer ended and someone at a high level seriously considered hiring Eric Wynalda?

The answer is obvious to most of us, but too many of the powers that be don’t seem to agree with logic.

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  1. goatslookshifty

    July 6, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Will Warren Barton be by his side pissing and moaning that they just are good enough?

  2. Julie

    July 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Exactly. I actually thought Brian Haynes was the coach? Im confused here.

  3. Rob

    July 6, 2013 at 12:47 am

    For the record, I sat directly behind the Silverbacks bench last night for the MN United match. Wynalda wasn’t there.

  4. Yeah I'm Mad But I'll Get Over It

    July 5, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Between Wynalda and the Atlanta Ultras, the Silverbacks are turning into the most hate-able club in American soccer. The speed at which they’re accomplishing this is most impressive.

    And I bet the NASL is loving the fact that it’s marquee championship match will be played on 10,000 square yards of chopped up spare tires.

    • Christopher Harris

      July 5, 2013 at 7:29 pm

      Why are the Silverbacks “turning into the most hate-able club in American soccer”? We need more background on why you think that way.

      • Kartik Krishnaiyer

        July 9, 2013 at 2:00 pm

        I’ll answer both.

        Well the supporters group is about the closest thing to true “ultras” we have in the states and it is a problem I know the league is aware of and likely to deal with. Then there is just the general anti-Wynalda sentiment of some of the apologists for all things US Soccer. To me this makes the Silverbacks much more likeable and I believe many agree with me on this. they are a popular team right now because of him and the story of so many of the second chance kids he brought to Atlanta…kids ignored by the powers that be at US Soccer.

  5. J-Fly

    July 5, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Oh, dear God. Summer is so incredibly boring. Only Mancini, Pepe, Gold Cup and Mr. Wynalda to read about. Oh, and *yet another* day of hearing that Arse are “close” to signing Higuain. I wish that football would just rewrite, “hey, guys. Absolutely nothing going on today. Check back in a few days.”——– And this weekend will be packed full of incredible football, the likes of Canada v. Some country no one even knew existed, and Panama v. Haiti. Yay. Joy. Thank you football gods, for this smorgasbord of insanely entertaining summer football this weekend. I can’t wait to cheer on Kazakhstan as they battle France in the U-20s… What a barn-burner that is bound to be. ——— only Spain v. Ura in the U-20s has any possible potential… Please please football gods, please give that game a tiny bit of competitiveness. —— oh, and there is always the USMNT playing tonight in a friendly against Guat…… ZZZzzzzzzzzz. —————————- August 17. August 17. August 17. If I say that date fast enough sometimes the ticking of the clock on the wall is a little less grating on my ears. — Crossing the summer void is a long and desolate landscape, but at least we’re all doing it together.

    • J-Fly

      July 5, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Football “outlets”. Missed a word. Durp.

  6. Dean Stell

    July 5, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Absolutely he deserves a chance. Football aside, one of the things I love most about him is that he usually has something to say.

    I really don’t understand the viewpoint that people should be quiet and behave…..especially as fans. Even if the guy is kinda obnoxious, we aren’t being asked to eat dinner with him…..we’re just enjoying him on TV.

  7. Wongo1

    July 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Good solid comment there Pompey, I am no fan of Eric but I will say that most everything he says about USA football and it’s ridiculous cast of nutters is correct.

  8. AtlantaPompey

    July 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    He has earned a look, but won’t get it. He has upset too many people, and is probably upsetting them even more because he is proving himself right and them wrong. I want him to stay in Atlanta, develop the Silverbacks to be the dominant team in a rising league and see what happens. I don’t care if they jump to MLS, the leagues merge, or whatever. I want to see Atlanta do well.

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