With players coming in from Chile, Brazil, and Canada, the Silverbacks technical staff has made it clear they will look far and wide to secure the right talent for the 2012 roster. For one offseason signing, however, the Silverbacks didn’t have to look far at all.
Defender Martyn Lancaster is an Atlanta resident who spent 2007 and 2008 with the Silverbacks. Lancaster, who signed with Atlanta in December, advanced to the championship game with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers last season and is eager to help the Silverbacks succeed. The 31-year-old defender said he was thrilled about returning to his former club.
“I’m really excited to be coming back to the Silverbacks because I spent two great years here before,” Lancaster said. “Once I heard Alex [Pineda Chacón] was going to be in charge, it was a no-brainer for me — he’s a great coach.”
During Lancaster’s first stint with the club, Chacón served as an assistant coach under head coach Jason Smith. The second-in-command made quite an impression on Lancaster.
“Alex has played at the highest level and has earned honors like MLS MVP. On top of that, his knowledge of the game is fantastic,” Lancaster said. “He really helped me develop into a better player back then, and I think the entire team, including myself, will really benefit from him this season.”
Lancaster began his career with Chester City F.C., before playing professionally in Sweden, Scotland, and the United States. The Wigan, England native has played in three countries since his last stint in Atlanta, but he and his wife, Misti, have maintained their residence in Cartersville. The Lancasters welcomed a baby girl, Mariella, seven months ago, making Lancaster’s return home even more special.
“It’s obviously nice for my family, but also for me as a player,” he said. “I went to the USL championship game my first year in Atlanta, and I’d like to bring those exciting days back to all of the great fans we have here.”
Consistent with each of the Silverbacks’ other offseason signings, Lancaster brings experience and veteran leadership to a very young team.
He played the second-most minutes in the NASL last season at the age of 30, and he said the reason he is able to endure at such a high level is that he takes care of his body. He credits stretching, eating right, and training every day for keeping match-ready.
Lancaster has spent the offseason training in Atlanta, and is eager for training camp to open next month and for the season to kick off April 7.
“I just want to start playing with my new teammates and start competing again,” he said. “I look forward to winning a bunch of games this season and putting 100 percent into everything I do for the team. I can’t wait to get started.”