Atlanta United announced their first set of roster decisions on Monday to kick off the offseason. Options on all contracts have to be made league-wide by the beginning of December and Atlanta have made their choices.
The two biggest names to have their contract options declined by the club at Kenwyne Jones and Tyrone Mears. Both are veterans of the game and had high expectations coming into the season, both possibly as high-impact starters. However, both were relegated to reserve duty for the majority of the season.
Other players to have the options declined include: Goalkeeper Alex Tambakis; defenders Mark Bloom and Zach Loyd; midfielder Harrison Heath; and forward Jeffrey Otoo. Contracts on goalkeeper Kyle Reynish and defender Bobby Boswell have expired.
As for the good news. Several players have had their options picked up. Including: Goalkeeper Alec Kann, defender Mikey Ambrose, midfielders Julian Gressel and Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu and forward Romario Williams.
Perhaps the most interesting decision in that bunch is that of Williams. He spent the season with the Charleston Battery and played magnificently. Could he factor into first-team in 2018 or could he be used as trade bait? We’ll have to wait and find out, but the technical staff obviously sees value in keeping him around.
Other notes include the following:
Meanwhile, the club already has existing contracts with 17 players for next season and beyond including goalkeeper Brad Guzan; defenders Michael Parkhurst, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Miles Robinson; midfielders Miguel Almiron, Andrew Carleton, Carlos Carmona, Chris Goslin, Kevin Kratz and Chris McCann; forwards Josef Martinez, Jacob Peterson, Brandon Vazquez and Tito Villalba. In addition, defender George Bello and forwards Lagos Kunga and Patrick Okonkwo will become Homegrown Players effective Jan. 1, 2018.
The MLS offseason will fully kick into gear on Dec. 10 when the roster freeze is lifted for a small trade window. Full dates of important offseason happenings can be found here.
UPDATE: It appears that Kenwyne Jones has announced his retirement as well.