MARIETTA, Ga. – After roughly 36 hours of agonizing speculation and dread for Atlanta United fans surrounding Tata Martino and his future with the club, the Five Stripes’ head coach finally spoke to local reporters before the team’s Thursday training session, and played down reports of his interest in other clubs and national federations.
In an interview with Colombian outlet Caracol Radio, Martino identified Oct. 1 as a date he will meet with the club to decide his future.
“That’s a date, contractually, that we have to try to decide the situation, but as I said before, we are still having talks with the club,” Martino told reporters through a translator Thursday.
Martino expressly denied all contact with other federations Thursday, just as he did in an interview that aired Tuesday night. But ever since, rumors and reports have circulated with speculation over his future.
“It doesn’t affect us at all,” Atlanta captain Michael Parkhurst said about the speculation and uncertainty over Martino’s future. “We’re aware of it. We see stuff online that is posted and written about. Day to day, it doesn’t affect us, and it doesn’t affect anything for this year. Whatever happens with his future — and there are guys on the team that don’t know their futures as well — it doesn’t affect anything with what we’re doing and what we’re trying to accomplish.”
After bristling at initial questions regarding Martino’s future, Brad Guzan explained that these situations are part of the professional game, and players are accustomed to it.
“It’s part of being part of a successful team and organization,” Guzan told reporters Thursday. “People are are always going to be talking, be it about players, be it about managers. There’s always conversations being had, and that’s what happens when you are around and affiliated with top talent. There’s always going to be discussions about guys.”
For now, it’s nothing more than a waiting game for the world to find out what will happen with Martino and his future at the club. In the meantime, ATLUTD are focused on keeping pace in a tight Supporters’ Shield race with the New York Red Bulls, starting with Saturday’s match at the Colorado Rapids (3:30 pm ET | Univision, Twitter – Full TV and streaming info).
“Regardless of who we’re playing, they’re all must-win games. They all have that feel to it because of where we are [in the table],” said Guzan. “When you’re fighting for something real, games become that much more important.”