Gabriel Heinze was fired from his coaching job Sunday by Atlanta United in Major League Soccer. The players of the American franchise would have denounced the drastic working conditions imposed by the Argentine coach.
He never counted his efforts on the pitch. During his career as a defender, Gabriel Heinze marked the spirits with his grinta and his sense of sacrifice, from PSG to OM, via Manchester United or Real Madrid. Now a coach, the Argentinean demands the same demands from his players. By imposing drastic rules on a daily basis. But the method is not to everyone’s liking. If it worked rather well in Argentina (in Velez Sarsfield in particular), it has just cost him his post in the United States.
Heinze was fired Sunday by Atlanta United, six months after his appointment. In 17 games, the 43-year-old technician only got 4 wins, 8 draws and 5 losses. He remained on 8 straight setbacks, the worst streak in franchise history since joining Major League Soccer in 2017.
But beyond these poor results, it was his management style that precipitated his departure. Atlanta United spoke of “problems related to the daily management of the team” when formalizing the ouster of Heinze. According to information from the local Atlanta Journal Constitution, confirmed by ESPN, the players’ union has filed a complaint against him for alleged violations of the collective agreement. A very serious accusation in US sport.
Extended sessions, water limitation, uncertain holidays …
Heinze is accused of having notably forced his players to exceed the number of trainings planned during the preparation. He would have limited the quantities of water available during the sessions, which would have forced the club’s doctors to intervene. The Argentine coach, who led five of his compatriots in Georgia, also reportedly refused to guarantee a specific number of days of leave to his troops.
While forcing them to remain reachable on their phones at all times, to respond to an unexpected summons to the training center. The sidelining of Colombian Josef Martinez, the team’s star striker, also tarnished his image with fans. And created a great misunderstanding in the locker room. While waiting to find a successor to Heinze, Atlanta United (founded in 2014) has appointed deputy Rob Valentino to take over the interim.