A former coach of the Atlanta United soccer team says his coaching career ended after the team’s owner, Georgia-based FirstEnergy Corp., failed to keep the club in the league.
In an interview with Vice News, Bobby Dodd, the former coach and owner of the club, said the Georgia soccer association failed to properly vet his coaching candidates for the job, and failed to ensure that those who applied were qualified.
Dodd, who has coached at various levels for the Atlanta soccer team and the Atlanta Silverbacks, said he was asked to train a few coaches to take the job.
Dumb and dumber, the coach said, he decided to give the job to an unnamed friend who had worked in Atlanta for five years.
“I knew him, and I had been to his house once or twice,” Dodd said.
“And I said, ‘You know what, if you do this job, you’re going to be able to stay with me for the rest of your life.'”
Dodd said the friend offered to take over the job in exchange for $100,000 in salary.
“He said, look, I’m willing to do that.
And I said okay.
I’ll take the money.
And he said, no problem.”
Dodd was told the coach would be working at a team in a new city.
“We had a bunch of players come into town, and he said to me, ‘Oh, I just came out of a job in Chicago, and we were supposed to train there, and they never train there.’
I said no, and that’s when it hit me,” Dodd recalled.
“You’re not going to train in Chicago unless you have a guaranteed job.”
Dobbs account of his time with the Atlanta team, which had won the MLS Cup in 2011, led to several other stories about Atlanta’s soccer team, including the arrest of former MLS star David Beckham and allegations of racial discrimination.
Dobbers account of how the Atlanta MLS team was run came under fire from other MLS clubs.
“There was a big story, in Atlanta, that somebody was fired for being racist,” Dodd told Vice News.
“That was a lie.”
He added, “I don’t know what happened, but it wasn’t true.
And then we found out the next day that it was a hoax.
It was fake news.
And it was all over the media.”
Doll said he felt “betrayed” by FirstEnergy, and was forced to “go to jail” because he had no choice.
He says he was fired by the team after he left the team.
“I just want to put this behind me.
I don’t want to deal with this again.
I just want it to go away,” Dodd recounted.
He said he left FirstEnergy after being accused of sexual harassment and was eventually suspended for one game in 2014.
“This has been an unbelievable experience for me,” he said.
Dwight Wright, a former MLS player who has been critical of the league’s handling of the allegations against Beckham, said in a statement that he is “deeply disappointed” by the coach’s account.
“FirstEnergy and its owners should be ashamed of themselves,” Wright said.
Wright said that the Atlanta league should investigate what happened and take “appropriate action against any person or entity responsible for such behavior.”
“The people of Atlanta deserve better,” Wright added.
“The NFL and the NCAA are both investigating their own handling of these issues.”
A spokesman for FirstEnergy said in an emailed statement to Vice News that Dodd has been terminated, adding, “The Atlanta Silverback organization and its staff have a commitment to the Atlanta community that will continue.
The Atlanta Silverbase is an equal opportunity employer.
This is a very sad day for our team and for the sport of soccer.”