clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mexico announce Diego Cocca as new National Team Coach

The news came as no surprise, after Tigres had announced they fired Cocca as coach for taking NT job.


The Mexican football federation named Diego Cocca as the new national team coach, taking the place of Gerardo Martino, who coached the team from 2018 to 2022. The Argentine coach comes in to the job after ending Atlas’ 70 year drought of titles with two back to back titles in the Apertura 2021 and Clausura 2022 seasons. Cocca had just been named coach at Tigres, and their breakup came after controversy with Tigres announcing the day before they were letting Cocca go for taking the national team job in a move that showed the split was far from amicable. Mexico will make their debut with Cocca on March 23, when they return to Nations League action away to Suriname.

Diego Cocca had a playing career that started in River Plate, and had spells with Deportivo Español and Ferrocarril Oeste before going to Spain to play in Lleida. He returned to Argentina to play for Argentino Juniors before leaving to go to Mexico to play with Atlas, in his most celebrated playing time in his Liga MX career. He then went back to Argentina to play in Banfield before returning to Mexico to play with Veracruz. He would return to Argentina to play at Banfield once again before returning for his final spell in Liga MX with Queretaro. He last played for a short time in Argentino Juniors before retiring in 2006. Cocca had a good career, with his time in Atlas being his career highlight.

Cocca started his coaching career in Argentina with short spells in C.A.I., Godoy Cruz, and Gimnasia Esgrima La Plata. At Gimnasia he saved the team from relegation by winning a promotion playoff, but later had to step down. He then had his first spell in Mexico when he coached Santos Laguna. His spell in Santos wasn’t good, and it ended shortly thereafter. Cocca went back to Argentina where he had spells with Huracan and Defensa y Justicia in Argentina before going to the job that would change his career at Racing.

With Racing, one of the biggest clubs in Argentina, Cocca took a team that had come from bad results and made it a champion. With a team that would supposedly play well and offensively, he won the 2014 Torneo de Transicion, their first league title since 2001. Cocca then had a short spell in Colombia with Millonarios before returning to Racing where he got the team to the Copa Libertadores, but eventually he resigned and returned to Mexico to coach Tijuana. At Tijuana he got the team to a semifinal, but overall his tenure wasn’t great and he lost the job eventually, once again returning to Argentina to coach Rosario Central. He saved them from relegation and get the team to qualify to the Copa Sudamericana before returning to Mexico to coach his old club Atlas.

Cocca took the Atlas job and made history. becoming their best coach ever results-wise by ending the most famous title drought in Mexican soccer history. Atlas hadn’t won a league title since 1951, a date so famous that their supporters group is called 51. While Atlas had a good team, it wasn’t the best squad and it wasn’t considered a title contender, but with a good plan based on a tough defensive side with some key foreign players up top in Julio Furch and Julian Quiñones, the team got to the final and won in 2021 by defeating Leon. The next season he would make Atlas only the third “Bicampeon” after Pumas in 2004 and Leon in 2013-2014 after winning the final against Pachuca. In the Apertura 2022, Atlas failed to qualify to the Liguilla and Cocca stepped down, but ended his career with great fanfare including a great goodbye match in Atlas. Cocca would then become Tigres coach for the Clausura 2023 where he made a couple of moves, but stepped down to take the Mexican National Team coaching job, a decision that wasn’t taken well by Tigres after the number of moves made by the club (the departure of Florian Thauvin, the acquisitions of Diego Lainez and Nicolas Ibañez) as well as his contract. Tigres would fire him the day before, confirming the news that he would be the new coach.

Diego Cocca will have a tough task as Mexican National Team coach. Mexico has just ended their streak of consecutive qualifications to the Round of 16 in the World Cup under Coach Gerardo Martino, a more experienced coach with a better reputation, and yet one whose tenure ended badly. Most fans aren’t very happy with the signing, especially after better names had been mentioned to be in the running for the job like Marcelo Bielsa. Cocca’s style has been very defensive in Mexico, and fans may not be happy if he doesn’t revert back to the style he used at Racing. Worse yet, with Mexico being one of the hosts of the 2026 World Cup, they are expected to do well, and a club coach with a defensive style isn’t the more exciting appearance. Still Cocca has had success as a coach, including making history at Atlas, where he did better than expected with the squad the team had. He will have to hit the ground running, as his first matches will be official games in the Nations League. They will have to go away to play Suriname and then have their first game in Mexico against Jamaica to try to qualify to the Nations League final this summer.