The arrival of 2012 means Atlanta Silverbacks Head Coach Alex Pineda Chacón is less than two months away from opening his first training camp at the helm of a professional soccer club.
Throughout the offseason, Chacón and the rest of the Silverbacks technical staff have been working tirelessly to assemble a championship-caliber squad for 2012. In recent weeks, their offseason scouting efforts have yielded four signings: Brazilian center back Rilla, English center back Martyn Lancaster, Canadian striker Stephen Ademolu, and Chilean striker Reinaldo Navia.
Chacón sat down with atlantasilverbacks.com this week to discuss the new signings, along with his further player personnel plans.
“We’re very pleased about the players we’ve been able to bring in so far this offseason,” Chacón said. “Each of these players has important experience and leadership qualities, and will also create competition at their positions.”
The Silverbacks signed defender Martyn Lancaster in early December, reuniting the Englishman with his former coach Chacón, who was with the Silverbacks as an assistant when Lancaster played in Atlanta from 2007-2008.
“Martyn is very familiar with my preferred style of play because I’ve known him for a long time,” Chacón said. “On top of that, his ability at the back speaks for itself — he was one of the top defenders in the league last year for the Strikers.”
Brazilian import Rilla will also be playing central defense for the Silverbacks this season.
“At 6-foot-3, Rilla has great size and is very strong in the air,” Chacón said. “He’s also very composed at the back and is comfortable with the ball at his feet, so I think he will be a very important part of our team.”
The Silverbacks have also recently added some offensive firepower. While strengthening the team’s defense is important, Chacón is also looking for more production from his front line. In 2011, Silverbacks strikers scored only 10 goals, but recently the team has signed some offensive firepower in the form of veteran Reinaldo Navia.
“With Navia, we get such an experienced player who knows exactly what it takes to play at the highest level,” Chacón said. “He’s a natural winner and has experienced success almost everywhere he has gone, so I think he is going to be someone that all of the other players can learn from.”
Navia, capped 40 times by the Chilean national team, isn’t the only offseason signing with senior national team experience. The Silverbacks brought in a strike partner for Navia, Canadian front man Stephen Ademolu, who has appeared five times for his nation in international play.
“Stephen is a very versatile player who adds pace and good technical abilities to the team,” Chacón said. “The other nice thing about him is that he can play both out on the flanks and in more of a middle attack role.”
While Chacón is excited to incorporate the four newcomers into the Silverbacks’ 2012 game plan, he is quick to point out that the coaching staff has more pieces to add to the puzzle before the start of the season. He plans to continue scouting domestically and internationally, and he will also be evaluating talent at the two remaining combines at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
“We need to be stronger at every position — that’s the bottom line,” Chacón said. “Just because we haven’t signed a new midfielder yet doesn’t mean we won’t. We have some players that we’re interested in right now, but at the same time, we want to be patient and take the time to evaluate talent in many different places.”
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