Atlanta United has signed winger Luiz Fernando to an MLS contract after the Brazilian native excelled with Atlanta United 2 this season. He will be eligible to play for the first team as soon as his registration is processed by the league.
“When we brought Luiz in, we saw someone who fit our player profile and hoped that in our system, he could develop into a First Team player. Over the last year, he’s put in that work and has earned an MLS contract,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said in a press release. “He is a great example of the type of professional we strive to have at this club, as he took full advantage of his opportunity with ATL UTD 2 and has shown the work ethic to continuously improve all facets of his game.”
Since signing with the USL club last November, Fernando has been a standout for Stephen Glass’ side. Despite just one goal and two assists, Fernando is second on the team in total shots this season. First team manager Frank de Boer singled him out last month as a player the staff wishes they could easier make accessible for the first team.
“We are handcuffed,” de Boer said ahead of Atlanta United’s 2-0 win against D.C. United in July. “If George Campbell or Luiz Fernando... if we think they’re ready, maybe they’d play tomorrow... [The roster regulations] stop the development of those young players. I think that can never be the idea.”
It’s not uncommon at Atlanta United training to see de Boer and his assistant Bob de Klerk watching over the 2’s sessions from above the facility’s show pitch.
Fernando, 22, has spent his entire professional career with the Richmond Kickers since signing with the USL club in 2016. The Brazilian was born in São Paulo and played for Corinthians’ youth club before moving to the United States as a 19-year-old.
Over three seasons in Richmond, Fernando played 78 matches, scored six goals and recorded six assists.