Atlanta United have hired former West Ham United midfielder Jack Collison as head coach of their reserve side that competes in the USL Championship, it was announced Thursday morning.

Collison takes charge of Atlanta United 2 after joining as the club’s U-17 academy head coach in August 2019. His coaching career began in 2015 with Peterborough United’s academy, while he’s also coached in the youth ranks for Premier League side West Ham.

“Jack has done a tremendous job with our academy teams since joining the organization and he will make a seamless transition to ATL UTD 2,” Atlanta United VP and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a release. “He’s quickly proven to have a bright future in the managerial world.”

The Five Stripes’ reserve side was previously led by Stephen Glass, who steered the first team on an interim basis after they mutually agreed to part ways with Frank de Boer last summer. Glass is now leading Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen FC, while Tony Annan also led ATL UTD 2 on an interim basis. Annan, Atlanta’s longtime academy director, is now the head coach for the University of South Carolina’s men’s soccer team.

“I’m really excited and honored to be given this opportunity and would like to thank the club for putting their faith in me,” Collison said in a release. “Having spent the last two seasons in the academy, it has given me a real understanding of what it is to be a part of this incredible club. I am looking forward to the challenge and cannot wait to get started.”

Before entering the coaching ranks, Collison made 121 appearances for West Ham United in the Premier League and Championship. He also earned 17 caps for Wales on the international stage.

Collison officially takes charge of ATL UTD 2 for their Sunday match against Louisville City FC. They’re part of the Eastern Conference’s Central Division for the 2021 USL Championship season.

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