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Catching up with Atlanta native, USMNT’s Shaquelle Moore

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The emerging right back is quickly making a name for himself.

Mexico v United States Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

There were no Atlanta United players representing the U.S. men’s national team in Nashville last Tuesday against Mexico, but the ATL still got its name out there through a fresh face. Shaquelle Moore, on loan at Reus Deportiu of the Segunda Divison in Spain for the 2018-19 season, earned his third appearance and second start for the USMNT last week.

The Powder Springs native, who earned six caps with parent club Levante in La Liga last season, was awarded with his first senior national team call-up back in March. Since then, Moore has been a regular for interim head coach Dave Sarachan, who has reserved his spot in the team their last six matches.

The 21-year-old played 85 minutes against Mexico and made plenty of runs upfield to overlap with his right-sided partner Kellyn Acosta, but had trouble getting past the last defender on 1 v 1 attempts and tended to lose his defensive positioning because of it. However, Moore showed a few similar qualities that starting right back DeAndre Yedlin possesses and could be a very valuable backup for the Newcastle United man as the U.S. prepares for next year’s Gold Cup and 2022 World Cup qualifying.

“I just want to be dangerous,” said Moore to DSS during post-match availability. “As an outside back, I like to be an extra guy in the attack. I want to get forward as much as I can, try to get balls in the box, and be dangerous. I think I did a good job of that tonight.”

Moore attended IMG Academy in Florida and spent one season in the FC Dallas academy system before deciding to take his talents to Spain at 17. He played in the third division for two seasons with Huracan, Oviedo B, and Levante B before making the leap to the latter’s first team in October of 2017. His time in La Liga last season presented many challenges, but none more daunting than defending Lionel Messi.

AP

“Spain’s been good,” said Moore. “There have obviously been a lot of ups and downs, but things are going well. I’m on loan this season, but I’m working hard and making the most out of it.”

Even during his time in Spain, Moore still tries to return home as often as he can.

“My family still lives in Powder Springs, so I try and go back there most holidays,” said Moore. “I have a lot of roots back there, so it’s always good to go back. I was there a couple months ago. My family actually made the drive to see me play tonight, so that’s nice.”

Moore’s well aware of his hometown’s emerging club of Atlanta United, mostly because one of his childhood friends plays for them.

“One of my close friends is Andrew Carleton, who’s also from Powder Springs. He’s getting playing time with Atlanta United now and he’s doing well, so that’s good. Their home environment is crazy. I’ve been to a few games. Hopefully they can keep it going.”

In the meantime, Moore is making a name for himself overseas with his club and stateside with the national team. Let’s see how high the ATLien can push his ceiling, especially during the next cycle of World Cup qualifying.