Who will be Atlanta United’s next Homegrown signings?

Welcome to silly season, 5 stripes fans. Rob and Joe have already run Ins and Outs on the 2021 VIP list, so now it’s our turn to check out the kids.

Over the past twelve months, Atlanta United has expanded its pool of potential local players to Atlanta United 2 with the signing of Jackson Conway and the club’s diaspora collectives with Matchup Chull and Bryce Washington. With these moves, the club has reinforced its desire to reward talented players whether they are still in the academy or have graduated in another part of the club’s expanding network. For the decision makers, the path to professionalism for these young players is not as important as the quality of the individuals who exit that path. Even after the departure of Academy Director Tony Annan, the club has retained the same player development philosophy of enabling the kind of smart, high-quality, versatile prospect that began with George Bello. Fans got to see these talented youngsters firsthand as the duo became synonymous with the polished, professional, and ambitious youngsters making their way through the system.

With the club dumping some depth in striker (Eric Torres), goalkeeper (Ben Lundgaard and Alec Kahn), central defender (Josh Bauer), and midfield (Moe Adams), we’ll take a look at a handful of players who have made their case to become the local No. .

Our best guess as to who the next homegrown player will be is Clemson’s left-back Charlie Asensio. Asensio is a four-year freshman to one of the top American college football standings. Asensio is solid and consistent in his game and has remained a constant force on the Tigers’ left flank. Asensio doesn’t collect a ton of shots, passes, goals, or really anything that would make its way onto the college football stats sheet, but what he does do really well is create space and create opportunities for players who get those passes and shots. Just by watching his game tape, you see a confident and experienced linebacker who is athletic enough to keep up with his faster opponents while also having the tactical intelligence to rein in players who might outpace him athletically. His floor would likely be a Mickey Ambrose type player who could grow into an average to an above average MLS defensive player.

Like last season, we think Atlanta United could dip twice into the team’s pool. UCLA goalkeeper Justin Garces He shares the same level of experience and pedigree with Charlie Asensio, and is even bettered by USYNT calls along with former Homegrown players Andrew Carlton and Chris Gosselin. Garces has always been a great athlete and shooting attitude, but he also played for consistently bad teams that gave him plenty of stopping reps. 2021 finally offered Garces the opportunity to play for the winning UCLA team, and as team captain, Garces led UCLA to the playoffs for the first time in years. Unfortunately, Garces did not play in the playoffs after a severe collision with a rival striker knocked him out of the PAC-12 Championship. If Atlanta United sign Justin Garces, they will have an experienced, brave and athletic goalkeeper who has watched and done it all. He can enter immediately as the third goalkeeper on the Grand Depth chart or as a starting goalkeeper by the second.

It is difficult to decide when to sign Atalanta United as a rising left back Caleb WileyWiley is doing everything he can and should get the first contract. Being only 16 years old, Wiley has already started for two seasons in the USL Championship and has played in two age groups at international level representing the United States and Atlanta United against three Under-20 teams. Wiley started all three games and, by all accounts, was one of the few bright spots on a disappointing, discord-free outing for the Americans. Wiley plays with great speed, determination, brilliance and poise, which makes him look much older than the 16-year-old. His defense is already advanced for his age and his attacking ability has taken such a leap forward that he started as a left winger rather than as a full back for the Under-19 team.

Wiley will likely need at least an extra half of a season before he is ready to debut with the first team, but that could be speeded up because he already attends MLS pre-season camp and trains regularly with his MLS peers.

Another very impressive 16-year-old player on this list is the central defender Noah Cobb. Cobb got his first chance with seconds last season and turned that into an impressive string of matches and alternate appearances that often showed how far he really went. Gaining strength and size will certainly benefit the youngster who has been bullied at times by some of the 30-year-old attackers he encounters, but he has the speed, focus and tenacity to stay strong. Cobb will likely return to the 2s in 2022 after receiving an invitation to pre-season camp.

Another talented defender who could return to the club is Brown University will cry. After losing 2019 to injury and 2020 in the canceled Ivy League season, Crane made the most of his first season as captain and defensive anchor for Brown. Crane is often lined up as Brown’s right center back and could be turned into a right-back due to his small size, good movement and ability to cross. If you watched Brown’s notable balls, you might be surprised to see Crane taking so many free kicks and corners on the right side of the field. The organization as a whole is weak at right-back, so Crane will likely find his way back to Atlanta back in the second in 2022. If he does not sign a domestic contract, he will likely be the first producer to be selected from Atlanta United’s MLS Superdraft side.

Attacking midfielder, Mercer Dylan Geither He is our best college player of the year. In this third Bears season, Gaither has become an attacking machine, scoring 14 goals and 5 assists over 1,424 minutes of play. A large part of this comes from his 70% of shots on goal that have seen him outperform rival goalkeepers in every match. With only a year of collegiate eligibility, the Southern Conference Championship and an NCAA playoff round remaining under his belt, one has to wonder whether Atlanta United will allow him to return for another season or bring him back as the No. 10 candidate for Atlanta United 2. Gaither and current 2s phenom Darwin Matthews She is exactly the kind of inexpensive attack that Atlanta United needs.

We all thought the fan’s favorite striker Coleman Gannon He was heading to Indiana University but something else seemed to happen behind the scenes. Since leaving Atlanta United 2 over the summer, things have been pretty quiet around Coleman Gannon, but I agree with Joe Patrick, who said in a recent podcast, “We haven’t seen another Coleman Gannon.”


These players are just a small part of the talent pool. There are at least a dozen others who will likely stay in college for another year or two to continue their development, but for others like Jay Fortune, their first professional contract may come with Atlanta United 2.

Atlanta United goalkeeper 2 reserve Vicente Reyes He will likely be on the top of the list for a professional contract in 2022 with the second. Reyes looked so good on the relief of Rocco Rios Novo and made a nice compliment of size, skill, footwork and ball control at his feet to be an intriguing prospect for Atlanta United. With Atlanta United’s goalkeepers on the advancing side of 30, the club will likely be looking to develop plenty of internal options to replace Brad Guzan and Alec Kahn in the next couple of years. We’ve already mentioned Justin Garces as one of those options, but Reyes shouldn’t be left out of that conversation.

Academy midfielders Brendan Lampe (dm/cm) and David Mejia (The striker) also appears to be strong candidates for professional contracts. Mejia continues to build on his time with the 2s, taking another massive leap forward in 2021. Mejia brings a significant amount of danger on the field when he has the ball or the team is in transition. He’s a fiery player that I’ve compared nicely to the Tasmanian Devil in the past. He may not be ready to jump up to the MLS level yet, but he’s a player he should stay close to. The same can be said for Brendan Lambie who looked good when he was called up to replace Will Riley and Chris Allan in midfield 2sec. He still has some work to do to improve his decision-making and ball retention, but he is improving quickly.

Defensive midfielder for South Georgia Alhaji Tambadou It can also be in strong consideration to hold 2 seconds. It’s not quite as high as you might want to go back to under a local contract, but if it goes without drafting, the Fifth-Year Senior can still go back to the second. He is a hardworking worker, a leader on and off the field, and a tenacious player who can sometimes work his way up to the goal. Tambadu has kept himself front and center with his former club, extending each of his seasons with the Georgia Revolution each summer.

Finally, we conclude this talented group of players in the name of sports freak Nigel Prince. Prince is a tall, slim and fast central defender who has all the traits you would look for in a central defender. He’s still working on refining his game and adding the technical side to it, but he’s still impressive in the air and the ball at his feet. The only downside to Prince is that he has a lot of competition for a spot on the roster in his position. Like Mejia, Prince is the type of player you want to stay close to before someone else has a chance to steal it.


This concludes another review of some of Atlanta United’s wealth of talented youngsters. Who would you like to see play for Atlanta United?

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