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Atlanta Silverbacks Announce Head Coach and Staff

2011 January 29

The Atlanta Silverbacks recently announced the hiring of head coach José Manuel Abundis to guide the team in the upcoming 2011 NASL season. Assisting Abundis will be former MLS MVP Alex Pineda Chacón and goalkeeper coach Jose “Gaucho” Pinho. The Silverbacks’ staff will have a decidedly Latin flavor, as Abundis is a native of Mexico, while Chacón hails from Honduras and Pinho is Brazilian, but all three have been involved in U.S. soccer earlier in their careers. After a two-year hiatus, the Silverbacks are scheduled to open their D2 season on April 9 hosting the NSC Minnesota Stars.

José Manuel Abundis will be making his debut as a head coach on April 9, but the 37-year-old has an extensive background in soccer as a player at both the club and international level. The Guadalajara native began his career with Mexican club Toluca in 1992, playing a total of 270 games in two stints for Los Diablos Rojos, scoring 80 goals. Abundis also did two tours of duty with Mexican club Atlante, then located in Mexico City, appearing over 70 times, and spent briefer periods with Mexican sides Pachuca, Monterrey, and Queretaro, and was with the MLS’ New England Revolution in 2006.

José Manuel Abundis

Abundis also has an abundance of international experience. Between 1996 and 2001, the striker earned 47 caps for El Tri while contributing 10 goals. His play for the Mexican national team included appearances in the 1996 Summer Olympics and the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup. Since retiring in 2008, Abundis has been actively involved in youth clinics in Georgia. Silverbacks Director of Soccer Rodrigo Rios stated that ” José is a very talented player, but he has also demonstrated that he has the energy, the passion, and the leadership to succeed in coaching. We’re honored to have him here, and we know Atlanta will welcome him enthusiastically.”

Both of Abundis’ assistants have extensive soccer experience, both as players and in coaching. Both also have roots in the Silverbacks organization. Alex Pineda Chacón was a leading goal-scorer for iconic Honduran team Club Olimpia beginning in 1988. With Chacón leading Olimpia’s attack, the club secured six Honduran league titles, five Central American titles, and a CONCACAF Champions Cup. Chacón begin his playing career in the United States in 2001 with the high-octane Miami Fusion of MLS, coached then by current GolTV’s exciting commentator Ray Hudson. Chacón scored 18 goals for Hudson’s club in 2001, and was recognized for his achievements by receiving the MLS MVP award, the MLS Golden Boot, the leagues “Fair Play” award and was named to the MLS Best XI.

Chacón, 41, also had brief stints with the New England Revolution, Columbus Crew, and LA Galaxy after the Fusion franchise was contracted. He joined the Silverbacks in time for the 2004 USL-1 season, and continued with Atlanta in a coaching role after his playing days were over. He has also been involved with the United Futbol Academy and holds a National A coaching license. Chacón also made a handful of appearances in Latin America’s prestigious Copa Libertadores competition with Peruvian club Sporting Cristal during their 1994-1995 campaign.

While both Abundis and Chacón were noted for their attacking flair as players, assistant coach Jose “Gaucho” Pinho brings balance to the staff with his goalkeeping background. Pinho began his professional playing career in 1994 with noted Brazilian side Flamengo, and also played for Botafogo after earning 15 caps with the Brazilian national youth team. Along with professional coaching experience in his native Brazil, Pinho served as goalkeeper coach of the Silverbacks in 2007 and 2008. Like Chacón, “Gaucho” has also been involved with the United Futbol Academy, as both Executive Director of Training and Regional Coach/Recruiter, and also served as goalkeeper and fitness coach at Georgia State University. Pinho has also been involved with select youth soccer clubs in Georgia and was director of the Zico Soccer Academy. He holds a National Youth coaching license.

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