Yesterday it was announced by Atlanta United that the club had loaned midfielder Junior Burgos to NASL side Tampa Bay Rowdies for the 2016 season. That was it. No announcement of the actual signing itself or how long the contract was for. It was a weird way to announce a player transaction to say the least.
As details have emerged, we have a clearer picture of what exactly happened and what it means for Burgos and Atlanta United. MLSSoccer.com clarified the situation here.
Atlanta signed 27-year-old midfielder Junior Burgos and sent him on loan to NASL club Tampa Bay Rowdies for the 2016 season. The contract is a one-year deal, with Atlanta holding a club option to bring back Burgos for their inaugural MLS campaign in 2017.
The club signed Junior Burgos to a one-year contract. He'll spend that one season on loan with the Rowdies. AUFC hold a club option on Burgos' contract for the 2017 season. This means that come 2017, they'll have to decide whether he's worth a roster spot or not. If he is, then the option will be exercised and Burgos will be a part of the first ever roster. If after they evaluate him this season and deem him not worthy of a spot, they simply decline the option and move on.
It's a low risk move by the club. They are in complete control of the situation and aren't tied down to any contract. Not only that, if they choose to add him to the roster, a club spokesperson told DSS that Burgos wouldn't take up an international roster spot.
Burgos proved his capabilities with the Atlanta Silverbacks in 2015, but he's not exactly a sure thing. His time in the USL with the Orange County Blues saw him struggle for playing time and rendered ineffective when he did see the field. If he can replicate the production that he provided for the Silverbacks with Tampa Bay, it'll go a long way in convincing Darren Eales and Carlos Bocanegra that he's ready to contribute to an MLS side in 2017.
Simply put, Junior Burgos is technically an Atlanta United player, but him actually getting to play for the club rests on the club's decision to exercise his option for 2017.