Football: MLS champions Atlanta name former Dutch star Frank de Boer as coach

Former defender Frank de Boer takes over on Jan 1, with Atlanta set for a pre-season match on Jan 14 and a Concacaf Champions League campaign that begins in February.
Former defender Frank de Boer takes over on Jan 1, with Atlanta set for a pre-season match on Jan 14 and a Concacaf Champions League campaign that begins in February.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/FRANK DE BOER

NEW YORK (AFP) - Major League Soccer (MLS) champions Atlanta United have named retired Dutch star Frank de Boer as the club's new coach, replacing Argentinian Gerardo Martino.

The 48-year-old Dutchman guided his former club Ajax to four consecutive Dutch league titles but less successful stints followed at Inter Milan and England's Crystal Palace.

In announcing last October that he was leaving Atlanta, Martino said the grind of a club campaign kept him from going home as much as he wanted. But he has been linked to the Mexican national team.

Former defender de Boer takes over on Jan 1 with Atlanta set for a pre-season match on Jan 14 and a Concacaf Champions League campaign that begins in February.

"The club's sportive ambitions, as set out in a long-term strategy to be the best in class, clearly fits my personal ambitions," he said.

"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."

De Boer lasted only 85 days at Inter after losing four of five Serie A matches and was gone after 10 weeks from Crystal Palace after a 0-4 start in the 2017-18 Premier League.

"Frank de Boer has a distinguished background, both as manager and player, and we're ecstatic to welcome him to our club," Atlanta president Darren Eales said.

Atlanta secured their first MLS Cup in just their second season when they beat Portland Timbers 2-0 earlier this month.