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Eric Wynalda named interim Atlanta Silverbacks coach

Eric Wynalda

Cal FC head coach Eric Wynalda smiles before a U.S. Open Cup fourth-round soccer game against the Seattle Sounders, Tuesday, June 5, 2012, in Tukwila, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)


Eric Wynalda had long sought a high-level coaching position, but he found those desires to be on the wane lately.

The longtime U.S. Soccer figure told me about a month ago that politics and a certain, perceived establishment fear of his propensity for unfiltered truth-telling had diminished those desires.

He said the interview process for MLS positions, where he did, in fact, speak his mind, had seemed to put off some of deciders. That reality had the former U.S. international wondering if perhaps he wasn’t cut out for the politically layered world of high-level coaching.

So perhaps this is a good step, a bridge into pro coaching for domestic soccer’s chief provocateur: Wynalda has been named interim manager of the Atlanta Silverbacks in the North American Soccer League, the second tier of domestic professional soccer.

The reports at IM Soccer News says “Wynalda will handle all team-related decisions effective immediately, and that will include finding a permanent head coach for the club. Wynalda has just signed a three year deal with FOX Soccer and will leave in the fall to resume his duties with the soccer network.”

The turning point (for him or perhaps for anyone considering the former U.S. striker) was surely Wynalda’s guidance of amateur club Cal FC into the U.S. Open Cup’s Round of 16.

The Silverbacks are currently last in the NASL standings.