Frank de Boer has hailed the stability and structure of Atlanta United, something he says was missing during brief stints with Inter Milan and Crystal Palace.
"The philosophy of the club, the structure of the club, the core values for me are very important issues," De Boer said at his unveiling. "Everything fit [for] me personally."
De Boer becomes the second manager in Atlanta's brief history. He takes over for Tata Martino, who. after winning MLS Cup with the team last December, departed to take over as manager of Mexico's national team.
"It's a new year, a new era, and we're looking forward," said Atlanta technical director Carlos Bocanegra. "We've got a great new head coach [in de Boer], the leader of the club to take us forward into this next challenge."
De Boer arrives with some considerable pedigree, having played with clubs like Ajax and Barcelona, while also managing Ajax to four consecutive league titles. There is baggage as well, however. He lasted just 85 days at Inter in 2016 and 10 weeks in charge of Palace during the start of the 2017-18 campaign. But de Boer feels Atlanta's structure has him set up for success.
"Of course it's a little bit of redemption," De Boer said during his press conference. "Of course you have to learn from your mistakes, but also about organizations that are good and organized and structured like Atlanta United."
Without specifying whether he was talking about Inter, Crystal Palace, or both, de Boer added: "There was no cohesion between all the departments, and it was everything separate. And now you have the feeling, okay, I don't have to look around [and find] a dead body in the closet. Everything is very clear and structured. For me, it's so much easier, and I can focus on the first team."
De Boer admitted that the lack of structure at both clubs took a toll on him mentally.
"These five-and-a-half seasons I was working with Ajax as the head coach, and four-and-a-half as the trainer of the academy, it cost me less energy than the eight months of Inter and Crystal Palace," he said. "I had already started to get gray hair. So I want that positive vibe and keep it when it's there. That's one thing I'm really looking forward to, to focus on the things I'm really good at."
Atlanta's MLS Cup triumph means they will be competing on multiple fronts this season, including the CONCACAF Champions League, MLS league play, the U.S. Open Cup and likely the MLS Cup playoffs.
Left unresolved is the situation surrounding winger Miguel Almiron, who has drawn considerable interest from teams in the English Premier League. A question about the reported arrival of River Plate midfielder Pity Martinez was not answered directly by Bocanegra. De Boer, as expected, expressed confidence in the side he is inheriting.
"I think we have the depth in the squad," he said. "I think they showed that last season."
As for why Atlanta chose De Boer, Bocanegra added: "What's his mentality like? What's his culture like? What's [his] philosophy like? How does his style of play fit into what we like to do here? What's his attention to detail like? All of those things, across the board, made it be [that] Frank was our guy. We're very much looking forward to him leading this club, and very much looking forward to welcoming him to Atlanta."