Atlanta United’s Martino explains why he spoke English

Though it created a bit of a stir with regard to the U.S. men’s national team, Atlanta United manager Gerardo Martino said he had a simple reason for speaking English during the halftime interview from last week’s semifinal at NYCFC.

“(Justin) wasn’t close by,” Martino said of his interpreter, Justin Veldhuis.

Martino laughed when told that people went a bit crazy on social media when Martino said in English that he liked his team’s intensity.

“It wasn’t that big of a deal,” he said. “I gave a simple answer.”

That simple answer was significant because Martino, who is from Argentina and speaks Spanish, rarely has spoken English to answer questions asked by the media. Speaking English is a requirement made by the U.S. Soccer Federation for the next manager of its men’s national team. 

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Martino already has announced that he will leave Atlanta United at season’s end and has said two weeks ago that he hadn’t been approached by USSF about the job.

Some were hoping, or wondering, if Martino choosing to speak English was either an attempt to show USSF that he can speak enough to handle the job, or if it was a jab at USSF for not considering him for the managerial position that has been vacant for 14 months.

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