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Nashville Atlas FC Announces Head Coach and Director of Football

Nashville Atlas FC has hired Giles Cheevers as Head Coach and Andy Poklad as Director of Football for their inaugural 2014 campaign.

Cheevers is currently Head Coach at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, TN, and also coaches the U-15 boys at Tennessee Soccer Club, one of the leading youth clubs in the state of Tennessee.  Cheevers has been with TSC for 7 years.  Poklad serves as the Executive Director of Tennessee United Soccer Club in Hendersonville, TN, and also serves on the Tennessee State Soccer Association staff as a certified coaching instructor.

The club will benefit substantially from the depth of experience and professionalism that both Cheevers and Poklad bring to the organization.  The duo will provide a solid foundation for Atlas as it builds its first team for competition in the Southeast Conference of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) in the summer of 2014.

Cheevers holds a UEFA “A” coaching license and spent time playing and coaching with various professional clubs in his home country of Ireland, including Waterford United and Kilkenny.  Cheevers also possesses a Goalkeeping “B” license from the Football Association of Ireland, having worked for the FAI in various capacities.

“I am delighted with this opportunity to coach Nashville Atlas in the NPSL and I am very excited for the challenge that lies ahead,” said Cheevers.  “Our aim will be to put a competitive team with a winning mentality on the field each week. To achieve this we will have to be fit, hard-working, organized, and technically solid and disciplined on the field in training and game time.”

Cheevers will be responsible for all personnel decisions, and will be setting the playing philosophy and tactics of the squad.

“We will emphasize possession by passing, moving and supporting each other off the ball. When the opposition have the ball, our focus will be to apply pressure and win it back quickly, always considering the various factors like quality of our opponents and weather that may impact the tactics,” Cheevers explained.

Photo Credit: Barbara Wolff

Poklad holds a USSF “A” coaching license and has been involved in soccer in Nashville since 1997.  He has experience managing semi-professional clubs, having spent four years with the Nashville Metros before taking on his role as Director of Coaching with Tennessee United Soccer Club.

“I hope to bring successful ideas from previous experiences at a similar level to the Atlas organization,” Poklad commented.  “I am excited to be working with Coach Cheevers and am looking forward to a close partnership and working relationship with him where I can aid in the success of the team on the field. I also look to continue to develop relationships with people both inside and outside of Atlas in the wider soccer community in my new capacity.”

Poklad will be oversee the technical operations, ensuring the overall quality of the football program and acting as a liaison between the coaching staff and the ownership group.

“We are thrilled to announce these two fine individuals as the bedrock of our NPSL squad.  We want to ensure that we are creating an environment that will breed success on the field, and we feel with these two at the helm, we will be guaranteed that our program will be of the highest caliber,” Atlas CEO Nolan Pittman concluded.  “Furthermore, we know that these two have earned the respect of the entire Nashville community through their tireless commitment to their craft and the impact they have had on the sport in our region.  We could not be more proud to welcome these two into the Nashville Atlas FC family.”

Nashville Atlas FC joined the NPSL in October 2013, and will play in the Southeastern Conference of the South Region. Atlas will begin its inaugural league campaign in May 2014.

The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is a national league that operates in the 4th Division of the U.S. Soccer pyramid. NPSL teams are eligible to participate in the U.S. Open Cup through their affiliation with the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). The NPSL is the fastest-growing national soccer league in the U.S., operating in 70+ markets across the country. Two Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs, D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls, operate U-23 squads in the NPSL.