In anticipation of the start of preseason training for your Atlanta United this coming Monday, January 14th, here is a brief history of new manager Frank de Boer before the first ball is kicked.
Frank de Boer, 48, was born in the Netherlands, and began his playing career with the famous Dutch club Ajax. After a successful ten-and-a-half seasons with Ajax he and his brother Ronald moved to the world famous Barcelona FC in Spain. He would also play for Galatasaray, Rangers, and Al-Rayyan before his retirement in 2006. During his playing career, he also represented the Netherlands at the international level 112 times. It was the most of any Dutch player in history, and now second behind goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.
He began his management career as a youth coach for Ajax in 2007 and stayed in that position until 2010. During that time, he also served as an assistant manager for the Dutch national team, which went on to finish second at the 2010 World Cup. His first first-team management position was also for Ajax. He took over in December of 2010 and Ajax would win the league in each of his first four seasons with the club before finishing second in his fifth and sixth seasons with the club. Following his failure to lead Ajax to the title in 2016, he resigned from his position and left the club. He would go on to briefly serve as the manager for Inter in Italy and Crystal Palace in England, but he was fired before he reached the 100 day mark with either club.
Teams that de Boer has managed have a tendency to employ a possession oriented style of play and use both the 4-3-3 and 3-5-2 formations that Atlanta United utilized under previous manager Tata Martino. While his performance at his last two clubs has left a lot to be desired, neither club was in a good place when de Boer was brought in. He received very little support from either board in terms of signing players who fit his style, which should not be an issue with Atlanta United. He also tends to rotate his squads more than Tata Martino, with an emphasis on developing young players and getting them game time. This combined with his playing experience as a Left back and Center back should bode well for the development of George Bello and Miles Robinson in particular.
Given Frank de Boer’s pedigree as both a player and a manager, Atlanta United fans should be very excited to see how he takes our team forward. His philosophies should see a surge in youth development and an exciting, energetic style of play which will be a joy to watch for years to come.