Earlier this week, the Atlanta Silverbacks (@ATLSilverbacks) invited their Twitter followers to submit questions for interim head coach Eric Wynalda (@Wynalda11) using the #AskEric hashtag. There were plenty of great questions submitted for Coach Wynalda, and after practice on Thursday morning, he took the time to answer nine of them.
@birchcrawford: With no MLS teams in the South, what can we as southern soccer fans do to move the Silverbacks up to MLS?
@Wynalda11: Atlanta has every opportunity to be the next Portland, but the city’s soccer fans need to prove it. What it really comes down to is the fans supporting the club and the club supporting the fans. It’s very much a two-way street.
@Weeeilll: Will you be looking to add any more former USMNT youth players?
@Wynalda11: Not at this point - we’re set. We have a great group of guys, and I think the integration of some of the reserve players into the first team has been a key component. At this point, though, I would say the roster is set.
@Hooliganbroome: Do you prefer Carolina, Memphis or Georgia BBQ?
@Wynalda11: I actually wouldn’t know the difference between the three of those, but I sure would like to be introduced to each kind. I think a tasting party is in order.
@Weeeilll: Do you have any advice for a dedicated soccer coach with little playing experience?
@Wynalda11: You never stop learning, as people or as coaches. I think it’s important to keep listening and keep watching, and let your instincts take you where they want to take you.
@soccerreform: Do you think promotion/relegation in the U.S. is something we’ll see in the coming years?
@Wynalda11: To be honest, I just don’t think our country is going to go for it. As much as I believe in it as a process and a means for making our leagues and organizations better and more accountable, I just don’t think it’ll happen here.
@MindOfAbram: What is your opinion on Atlanta’s supporter culture?
@Wynalda11: I’ve been really impressed with the soccer culture here in Atlanta, and I know that it will continue to steadily grow.
@Weeeilll: What has been your toughest moment and best moment since arriving in Atlanta?
@Wynalda11: The toughest moment so far was the process of having to let guys go. Those were some very hard decisions, but I felt they were in the best interest of the organization. The best moment so far has to be the feeling in the locker room on Saturday night and Sunday morning following our home win over Puerto Rico.
@1983_Reporter: What is your preferred postgame victory celebration: cigar, bourbon, or beer?
@FutebolSource: Is there any evidence that NASL players aren’t good enough to play in MLS?
@Wynalda11: I don’t think the level of play between the two leagues is very different. There are some subtle areas where MLS is superior, but in my opinion, there are more players than you might think that could easily make the jump from NASL to MLS.
@aracauna_man: Besides the obvious personnel changes, what have you focused on changing since becoming the Silverbacks coach?
@Wynalda11: I’ve said it before – I think that most of the guys that were on the team when I arrived are very good soccer players. It’s all about changing their mindset and their attitude, and making everything fun again. Of course there are certain things that we’ve changed on the field, but I think what's been important is creating a family-like atmosphere among our team and our staff.