It has been just over a week since the Atlanta Silverbacks appointed Alex Pineda Chacón head coach, but the team’s new leader is working at full speed in preparation for the 2012 season. Chacón sat down with atlantasilverbacks.com to share his excitement about landing this new job and discuss some of his plans for the team.
How does it feel to finally have your first head coaching position?
Well, I’m over the moon right now. It’s something I’ve always wanted, so I’m very happy about the opportunity. It’s been nice — I think I’ve already done like three or four interviews in my home country of Honduras and I’ve gotten a lot of calls from people, so I feel honored. You know, it’s tough because I was the assistant coach to [Jose Manuel] Abundis and he’s out now, but this is my opportunity to build up the team and grow as a coach. I can now make more decisions that can have an impact on the team and get better results.
Of all the places to get your first head coaching job, what does it mean to you that you’re taking charge of the Silverbacks, a team where you’ve played for and coached for so many years?
Outside of Olimpia, the club that I played for in Honduras for 12 years, I’ve never been with a club longer than the Silverbacks. I came here in 2004 and played three seasons and then I was an assistant coach for three seasons. My family is here in Atlanta, I know the city very well, and of course I know the organization very well. It’s a nice situation because I know the owners and the staff, and I know what the Silverbacks mean to the community. We have good fans, and many of them even know me from when I played here.
What are your plans for the offseason as far as getting this team ready to compete in 2012?
As you’ve seen in the last few weeks, we‘ve made decisions on several players already, so we’ve begun to put this thing together for next season. We will continue to evaluate the talent that we have, and also use our contacts in the U.S. and in other countries to bring in additional players. The combines will be important and will give us an opportunity to get an extended look at a lot of new guys. The important thing is finding the right players for our system. We have room for new players, but they can’t be just good players, they need to be excellent. We need players who are ready to play and have the ability to complement our current players and raise the level of the team. If we can create strong competition at each position and have the players pushing each other to get better, it will help us get a lot of good results. The bottom line is that we want players who can make a difference and help us win now.
After playing professionally in Central America, South America, and the United States, are you planning on combining elements from each of those playing styles?
I think what was unique about my time in America with the [Miami] Fusion was that we played more like a team from South America. We played less direct and more possession, which wasn’t like some of the other MLS teams at the time. I think in America, you have a lot of teams that play over the top and extra physical, which maybe isn’t attractive, but it wins games a lot of the time. I understand that, but I also believe in playing in a way that respects the beauty of the game. What that means is possessing the ball well, finding spaces to make penetrating passes, and finally completing the play with a well-taken goal. Playing direct is just the easy way to go. You could bring in tall basketball players to play striker and maybe win some games, but that isn’t a spectacle for the fans – it’s not fun to watch. So yes, I think we’ll try to combine a few different philosophies because I think it’s important to understand the way certain teams play and adapt to it.
What can the fans expect from you as a coach?
Dedication. I’m going to be extremely dedicated to the job, and I’m going to put in the time it takes to build a winning team. For the coaches and the players, we need to be responsible, we need to be professional, and we need to practice well. It’s my job to manage this team, and I don’t take the responsibility lightly.