Joseba Exteberria Named New Manager Of Bilbao Athletic
Bilbao Athletic were in serious contention to qualify for the promotional playoffs early last season before injuries and the promotion of Gaizka Garitano seemingly derailed the campaign. Aritz Solabarrieta was unable to get the same level of play out of the team and it became clear after the December election that a change would be taking place once the season came to an end.
A few days ago the club announced that Solabarrieta, along with Iban Fuentes and Ander Breda, would be leaving Lezama. Even before the dismissals were confirmed, many sources reported that Joseba Etxeberria was in line to become the next manager. Sporting Director Rafa Alkorta even admitted in a recent interview that Athletic were in talks with the club legend.
On Tuesday it became official as Athletic announced that Joseba Etxeberria has been hired as the new manager of Bilbao Athletic. Etxeberria has signed a two-year contract with Athletic, with an optional third year, and will give a press conference on Wednesday at noon. Jorge Pérez and Iñigo Lizarralde will act as the manager’s assistant coaches, Dani Aranzubia will coach the goalkeepers, and Edu Estibariz will continue as the physical trainer for the team.
Etxeberria spent 15 years as an Athletic player amassing 514 appearances for the Zurigorri. After retiring from football he began coaching at Lezama in 2012 where he oversaw Cadete, both Juvenil teams, and eventually joined Ernesto Valverde first team staff in 2015. The following year Etxeberria became the manager of CD Basconia where he was highly successful before leaving for Amorebieta and eventually Tenerife which he guided to promotion.
It’s long been Etxeberria’s dream to coach the Athletic first team and taking over Bilbao Athletic is another promising step in that direction. He’s proven to work well with young players and his experience and familiarity with the club made him Rafa Alkorta’s top choice for the position. Joseba Etxeberria is already working on preparing the squad for next season where the Katxorros will be hoping to battle for a spot in the promotional playoffs.