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Helmsman Wynalda fills void in Atlanta
January 7th, 2014 12:47PM

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[NASL 2014 COUNTDOWN] The Atlanta Silverbacks didn't bother filling the vacancy following the exit of head coach Brian Haynes. They've handed the role of running the team to technical director Eric Wynalda, who will commute from his home in Los Angeles, where he works as a soccer analyst at Fox Sports 1.

Wynalda, a U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer, will be a drop-in coach, coaching and running late-week practices, while assistants will run the team in his absence. The Silverbacks' nine-game spring schedule includes only weekend games. Wynalda said at Tuesday's press conference that reports that he'd only coach the first half of the season were inaccurate.

“We’ve come to the conclusion of reengineering Eric’s role," said Silverbacks chairman Boris Jerkunica in a statement, "and that includes managing the team’s training sessions and games."

Wynalda ran the Silverbacks on an interim basis in 2012 before Haynes took over. He brought with him several players from the semipro Cal FC team that reached the quarterfinals of the 2012 U.S. Open Cup and helped turn around the team. Atlanta won the 2013 spring title but lost to the New York Cosmos in Soccer Bowl 2013. A poor second half of the season cost Haynes his job.

Wynalda believes the new role has tremendous potential.

"We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t expect it to be successful," he said.

QUOTABLE. San Antonio Scorpions president Howard Cornfield didn't take kindly to losing NASL Best XI forward Hans Denissen to the Cosmos. “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."

-- The Tampa Bay Rowdies acquired 27-year-old midfielder Christophe Lallet from Swedish club Hammarby and Jamaican keeper Ryan Thompson, 28, from Harbour View.

-- Lansdowne Park, home of the expansion Ottawa Fury when it moves into the stadium in the summer, has been named TD Place. The Canadian bank will be the naming rights sponsor of the sporting/concert areas, including stadium and arena that will also house CFL and Junior A hockey teams.


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