Atlanta's Darren Eales: "We knew" Tata Martino would leave after two years

Darren Eales - Atlanta United president

On Tuesday, Atlanta United announced that head coach Tata Martino would be moving on after the season, putting to bed rumors that have swirled around his future for a few months.

Club president Darren Eales admitted that the club knew they were getting into what likely would be a two-year relationship when they appointed Martino as the club's first head coach.

"We always knew going into this that it was two years, obviously the hope was that we could persuade him to stay longer and that's what we were talking over the past two months trying to come to some sort of an agreement on that, but we understand from Tata's perspective," Eales told Atlanta radio station 92.9 The Game on Tuesday afternoon. "He wants a new challenge."

Eales echoed Martino's words on the media release when the club announced the news, that financials were not the reason for him leaving.

"It was a very amicable and friendly discussion. ... It's not something that there's any needling doubt about, or financial, it's none of that," Eales said. "Genuinely, Tata was torn as to what his next move would be."

The club announced the news early enough that the team can be fully focused on Decision Day presented by AT&T, where they can win the Supporters' Shield, and their playoff run. 

"We've got our season to focus on, that's what Tata wants to focus on: we have trophies to win," Eales said.

Atlanta's ambition is to seamlessly be able to deal with situations like this, as they envision many of them.

"At Atlanta United, the sort of club we want to be that world-class club that's at the forefront of the soccer world," Eales said. "So we're going to lose people from time to time because of that. The important thing is what process we've got in place, what culture have we built up, what are our resources, what sort of owner and front office staff that we've got to keep that continuity. That's what we're focused on now."