ATLANTA -- Gerardo "Tata" Martino has already become a beloved member of the Atlanta sports coaching fraternity.
Now the rest of the country is interested in him to possibly lead the U.S. men's national soccer team.
After a devastating loss to Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday to push the U.S. out of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, head coach Bruce Arena resigned on Friday. It wasn't a surprising move, but now the focus is on who will replace him.
A name many experts and fans on social media are throwing around is Martino, the head coach of Atlanta United FC.
MLS fans know Martino because he is leading one of the most successful expansion teams in the league's history. The Five Stripes have already clinched the playoffs in their first season and look to be a serious MLS Cup contender. They have produced an exciting, attacking-style offense led by striker Josef Martinez, and they have set all sorts of attendance records thanks to an energized fan base.
Martino makes sense for the U.S. men's national team. He has international experience. He coached for Paraguay and led them to the 2007 Copa America knockout stages and World Cup quarterfinals in 2010. The Argentinian then coached for his home country, building a 20-4-5 record, and he led them to a Copa America final.
He had other club experience before arriving to Atlanta, and everywhere he's gone he's had an immediate impact. He's a player's coach who has a knack for developing young talent, the kind of talent the U.S. is priming for the future with guys like Christian Pulsic, DeAndre Yedlin and, a player on Martino's own team, 17-year-old Andrew Carleton.
Martino is much more interested in the MLS Playoffs right now, so it'll be some time before we hear his interest in the position. And of course there will be other names that get thrown around. But here are some of those on social media who think Martino is the clear choice:
I'm looking long-term. And through that lens, Tata Martino is a better choice. He may not know the US as well as JK, but he gets it 3/2 :)— 🎃 Ryan Gore-man 🎃 (@GormoExJourno) October 11, 2017
Tatá Martino the next Coach for USA! You heard it here first.— Jason ”JJ” Jose (@Jason_Jose) October 11, 2017
Tata Martino, and it's not even close— Phil Schoen (@PhilSchoen) October 11, 2017