Press Release

Sounders FC bids farewell to Assistant Coaches and former players Gonzalo Pineda and Djimi Traore

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SEATTLE, WASH. – Seattle Sounders FC today announced that former players and longtime Assistant Coaches Gonzalo Pineda and Djimi Traore have departed the club for new opportunities. Pineda has accepted the Head Coaching position at Atlanta United FC, taking the helm of another leading club in Major League Soccer following four-and-a-half seasons on Seattle’s staff. Traore returns to Europe for a new leadership role with a topflight club, with further details to be announced by his new organization in the future.  

“While this is a day I thought may happen, it is not easy to say goodbye to such accomplished players like Djimi and Gonzo, who transformed stellar playing careers into becoming two of the best young coaches in MLS. I could not be happier for the new opportunities in front of them,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “They have been essential pieces of our club’s success, both on and off the pitch. I have so much respect for their effort and dedication to help this club achieve success. I know they will be successful in the next chapter of their coaching careers.”


Pineda spent more than four seasons as an Assistant Coach for Sounders FC, helping the club to three MLS Cup Final appearances (2017, 2019, 2020) and one title (2019). A longtime Liga MX player and member of Mexico’s 2006 FIFA World Cup squad, Pineda finished his career with Sounders FC from 2014 through 2015, starting 45 of 56 MLS regular-season appearances and helping the club lift the 2014 Supporters’ Shield and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. He spent one year as a broadcaster for Univision in 2016 between his two stints with the Rave Green. During his playing career in Mexico, Pineda was a mainstay at both Pumas (2003-2005) and Chivas de Guadalajara (2006-2013), where he made over 100 appearances for the Rojiblancos during an extended stay with the club.  

“As both a player and a developing assistant coach, Seattle has been my home now for many years, and I have grown to love the people in this community and all that it represents,” said Pineda. “I have learned many, many valuable lessons from Brian Schmetzer, my fellow assistant coaches and our players, and these are teachings I will take with me into this new opportunity in Atlanta. While I am very excited about the future and leading Atlanta United, I want to take a moment to say thank you to everyone at Sounders FC and the club’s passionate fans for leaving such a lasting impression on me and my family. It has been an incredible journey with you all and I am thankful to have been a part of your club.”


Traore was hired as an Assistant Coach prior to the 2016 season for Sounders FC, where he finished his playing career from 2013 through 2014. Before joining the First Team coaching staff, Traore mentored and developed Seattle’s younger players as an Assistant Coach for the club’s USL squad in 2015. Prior to coming to the Emerald City, Traore enjoyed a successful career in England and France, including 141 appearances for Liverpool, where he notably played all 120 minutes of the Reds’ memorable 2005 UEFA Champions League Final victory over AC Milan. Since joining the coaching staff, Traore has helped the club to four MLS Cup appearances (2016, 2017, 2019, 2020) and two championships (2016, 2019). As a Sounders FC player, Traore appeared in 50 matches across all competitions, including 42 in MLS play. He and Pineda were teammates on the 2014 double-winning side that captured both the Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup title.

“It is with heavy heart that I leave Seattle, a city that has treated me like one of its own since I joined Sounders FC in 2013,” said Traore. “I’d like to thank every teammate, coach and staff member over the years for making me a better professional. I have been fortunate to work for the best coach in MLS, and I learned so much from Brian and my fellow assistant coaches. This next opportunity is one I could not pass up, as it will allow me to further develop my professional skillset in new and exciting ways. Seattle will always be a second home to me, and I wish everyone in this organization the best going forward. Thank you to everyone in this city that welcomed my family and for showing us such a great experience in America.”

“Both Gonzalo and Djimi are two of the most highly-respected assistant coaches in our league, and we are proud of their development within our club as professionals,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “While we are sad to see such talented individuals depart the club, their new opportunities are not surprising when considering their contributions to our organization. We wish Gonzalo success as he stays within MLS and prepares to take over the head coaching position at Atlanta, and we know what an asset Djimi will be as he returns to Europe and embarks on a new role. Both of their new organizations are lucky to have these guys and they will be missed here in Seattle.”

Following Tuesday night’s memorable 3-0 victory over Tigres in the Leagues Cup quarterfinals, Sounders FC hits the road this weekend to face archrival Portland on Sunday, August 15 at Providence Park (7:00 p.m. PT / FS1, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).



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