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Wynalda's commuting days with Atlanta are over
July 18th, 2014 8:06PM

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[NASL] Saturday will mark Eric Wynalda's last game on the sidelines of the Atlanta Silverbacks. The NASL club announced Friday that its technical director will be relinquishing his head coaching responsibilities as the conflicts with his responsibilities at Fox Sports grew.

Former Silverbacks coach (2005-2008) Jason Smith will return to coach the team. Assistant Ricardo Montoya, who ran the Silverbacks during weekdays in Wynalda's absence, was relieved of his duties.

Wynalda said his work at Fox Sports -- which will take over as the FIFA rights-holder from ESPN in 2015 -- made it hard to continue in his role.

“When we sat down at the beginning of the season, we came up with a plan and a schedule that would have worked, but my role with Fox changed dramatically and that was an unforeseen change,” Wynalda said. “During Champions League and FA Cup, it went from commuting from LA to commuting from Europe, and it made things very difficult. We were trying to do the best we could under the circumstances, but with the high probability of future schedule changes, I decided that it was unfair to put the club through any further instability.”

Atlanta tied for sixth place in the 10-team NASL for the spring season that ended in June. The Silverbacks won the 2013 spring title but lost to the New York Cosmos in the 2013 Soccer Bowl. When Brian Haynes was not retained as head coach for the 2014 season, Wynalda, technical director since 2012, was brought in to take on the coaching duties. Atlanta reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup with wins over two MLS clubs, but opened the fall season last Saturday with a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

“Eric has sacrificed a great deal this season when it comes to taking on the responsibility of coaching the team,” Silverbacks president and general manager Andy Smith said. “The amount of time and effort he has invested in our club is remarkable, and we support his decision to spend more time with his family and continue on as just the technical director as we bring in Jason Smith to coach the team.”

When Wynalda originally joined the Silverbacks last July, the team experienced a minor surge after struggling at the beginning of the 2013 Fall season. This January, the team announced it was doing away with its official head coach’s role, allowing the club’s technical director to also manage the team on the field.

NASL WEEK 2, Results:
Thursday, July 17
Minn. United 1 Carolina 0

NASL WEEK 2, Schedule:
Saturday, July 19
7:30 pm ET
Atlanta vs. FC Edmonton
Indy Eleven vs. Tampa Bay
8:30 pm ET
San Antonio vs. Ft. Lauderdale
Sunday, July 20
3 pm ET
Ottawa vs. New York

NASL Fall Standings:
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
6 Minn. United 2-0-0 4/0
3 San Antonio 1-0-0 3/1
3 Tampa Bay 1-0-0 3/2
3 Indy Eleven 1-0-0 2/1
1 FC Edmonton 0-0-1 0/0
1 Ottawa 0-0-1 0/0
0 Atlanta 0-1-0 2/3
0 New York 0-1-0 1/3
0 Carolina 0-2-0 1/3
0 Ft. Lauderdale 0-1-0 0/3

NASL WEEK 3, Schedule:
Wednesday, July 23
8:30 pm ET
San Antonio vs. Carolina
Saturday, July 26
7:30 pm ET
Atlanta vs. Minn. United
Carolina vs. Ottawa
Ft. Lauderdale vs. New York
Tampa Bay vs. San Antonio
Sunday, July 27
4 pm ET
FC Edmonton vs. Indy Eleven


3 comments
  1. Christopher Tallmadge
    commented on: July 19, 2014 at 11:10 a.m.
    Too bad he didn't leave FOX too.
  1. Woody Woodpecker
    commented on: July 20, 2014 at 11:22 a.m.
    Christopher, that's a wee bit harsh....
  1. ROBERT BOND
    commented on: July 21, 2014 at 9:55 a.m.
    Please, Sirius XM FC, don't do Fox TV feeds for matches, his cries of "Ronaldooooooooo!" & other names instead describing the action ruined the UEFA Champions radio broadcast for me when I was travelling!

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