The secrets of the transformation of the champion Atlas

When it was decided to put the word “Transformation” on the Atlas shirt, few thought about the profound effect that this could have.

The Atlas was far from the first positions of consideration of those bookmakers with no deposit bonuses where you can bet on Liga MX matches.

But the famous transformation was not an act of magic. Since the Orlegi Group bought Atlas in 2019, they had set themselves the goal of being an elite Mexican soccer team again in 2022. And to think that it already seemed like an ambitious plan…

The president of the club, José Riestra, describes the transformation of the club as a 180-degree change from the traditions, many of them negative, that the club had been dragging for decades. Aspects were changed from organizational elements, through the day-to-day of players and coaches, to the implementation of a sports science department. This last item, supported by a strategic alliance with Celtic of Scotland.

In addition, the club inaugurated a new training center in Guadalajara last October. They were based on other high-performance centers they visited in the United States, from teams such as LAFC, Atlanta United or the Columbus Crew.

But perhaps the most complicated thing to change in the club was the mentality and the historical weight of being a team that had not been consecrated for 70 years. The karma that weighed on the Atlas due to the lack of trophies had even become a mantra among the fans who, resigned to failure, had no pride left but to say “I am from the Atlas despite the results”.

Because the famous word of “Transformation” in the Atlas jerseys. It was more than just a project inside the club. It was about a change of mentality and a message also outside the locker room and offices. The history of Atlas had become a history of failure, and to change this, the history of the club had to be transformed, going against a past that weighed on the institution.

Precisely the Orlegi Group already presented a resume in the world of Mexican soccer through the Santos Laguna club, which it bought in 2013. With Santos they won the Liga MX title in 2015 and 2018, in addition to finishing second in the Closing 2021. Based on the success of the Santos, they built another winning project in the Atlas, and it seems that the model they implement is very efficient.

In the sporting aspect, the hiring of Diego Cocca was decisive.

The Argentine was an Atlas player in the past and knows the culture of the club, something that was important to understand the problems that Atlas was dragging and that he himself experienced in his own skin. He was part of the runner-up team in 1999, a team remembered for the football that he played under the then coach, a certain Ricardo La Volpe, and players like Rafa Márquez, Oswaldo Sánchez, Pável Pardo and Jared Borgetti.

Cocca already has the experience of having broken another 13-year drought without titles for Racing de Avellaneda in Argentina, another historic club.

Now he has entered the Atlas Olympus, along with another Argentine player, striker Julio Furch, who scored the last penalty in the penalty shootout of the Liga MX final that pitted Atlas against León in December 2021. After After 120 cardiac minutes of soccer, the Jalisco stadium was with its heart in its hand watching how the penalties arrived.

The Colombian Camilo Vargas, a goalkeeper who arrived in 2019, did the job by covering the fifth penalty of the León series. And as soon as Furch stepped up to take the penalty, the entire stadium seemed to hold its breath. The goal explosion could easily have registered a small tremor in the city of Guadalajara.

The earthquake is now expected to be the beginning of a revolution in the Atlas that paves the way for new titles and an era remembered for the winning culture and no longer for being the eternal second.

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