The ex-USA skipper is set to help the club build towards their inaugural MLS season in 2017.
MLS expansion side Atlanta have named former US national team captain Carlos Bocanegra as the club’s first technical director ahead of their inaugural season in 2017.
Bocanegra, 35, retired from the professional football at the end of last season after seeing out his career with Chivas USA, but expressed his desire to remain active in the game at the time.
The ex-Fulham and Rangers defender will now assist team president Darren Eales, a former executive with Tottenham Hotspur, in overseeing soccer operations of the franchise, including the development of a scouting network and youth academy, when he starts up the role in April.
“I feel very fortunate to have played the game of soccer professionally for so many years and am excited to be part of something special here in Atlanta,” Bocanegra said in a club statement. “I’ve always wanted to stay involved with soccer at the top level, and to have that opportunity with MLS Atlanta is a great way to start this next chapter. I’m a competitor, and I look forward to bringing that drive and passion into everything I do here in Atlanta.”
Bocanegra earned 110 caps for the USA following his 2001 debut, featuring in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and scoring 14 goals, while captaining the side on 64 occasions from 2007 until his final appearance in November 2012.
Beginning his professional career with the Chicago Fire, after being drafted fourth overall in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft out of UCLA, he would later go on to spend almost a decade in Europe, with stints at Fulham, Rennes, Saint-Etienne, Rangers and Racing Santander, before returning to the States to join Chivas in June 2013.
A two-time MLS Defender of the Year, the California-native also led the Fire to a Supporters' Shield title and the US Open Cup before falling in the MLS Cup final in 2003, and Eales believes his wealth of domestic and international experience made him the ideal candidate for the role with Atlanta.
“We’re very pleased to have Carlos join us as technical director,” Eales added. “With over 100 caps for his country, and experience playing both in MLS and top European leagues, he will bring a special skill set and presence to our club. He has an excellent reputation as a mature, confident leader, and we have no doubt that he will thrive in the front office as much as he did on the pitch.”