Atlanta United names ex-Ajax boss Frank de Boer as next manager

Atlanta United announced on Sunday that it has named Frank de Boer as its next manager.

The news comes little more than two weeks after the club lifted MLS Cup in just its second year of existence, under the management of Tata Martino, who the Five Stripes confirmed would depart at the end of the season.

"The club's sportive ambitions, as set out in a long-term strategy to be the best in class, clearly fits my personal ambitions," De Boer said in a statement. "I would like to build on the current success to develop a secure, solid foundation for the club at the top of MLS and beyond. Aside from the club's ambitions, the values, culture and the philosophy for the entire organization are a vital part in realizing that point of success."

De Boer's most successful spell as a manager came during a six-year tenure with Ajax, a period in which the club won four Eredivisie titles. Prior to that the 48-year-old was an assistant with the Netherlands national team under Bert van Marwijk from 2008 to 2010, a period in which the Dutch reached the final of the 2010 World Cup only to lose to Spain.

"Frank de Boer has a distinguished background, both as manager and player, and we're ecstatic to welcome him to our club," club president Darren Eales said in a statement. "When we began our search, we were determined to find someone who fit all of our criteria. In addition to meeting our club's core values, Frank's philosophical views for how to play unequivocally aligns with ours. He also has a proven track record of developing youth players, with many of them going on to star for top European teams. Finally, his multilingual capabilities, including Spanish and English, ensure a smooth transition in the leadership of our club."

De Boer was most recently the manager of Premier League side Crystal Palace, but was fired just five games into the 2017-18 campaign, a spell in which the team failed to score a single goal in league play. He had a similarly brief stint with Inter Milan in 2016, where he was manager for just 85 days.

As a player with Ajax, De Boer won five league titles and the 1994-95 Champions League trophy. He also played five seasons at Barcelona, winning the La Liga title in 1998-99. He is the third-most capped player for the Netherlands national team and was part of the 1998 World Cup squad that reached the semifinals and finished fourth.

Former Boca Juniors manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto had been linked with the job, but Eales told ESPN FC in an interview in November that he wanted the next manager to carry on Martino's tactical approach of possession with high-pressing, a preference that would appear to hint at a hiring other than Schelotto.