Ahead of the MLS Is Back Tournament, Atlanta United welcomed a budding young star onto their team. While more attention has gone to the Erik Lopez signing saga, a young star from the academy with a storied pedigree gets the nod from team bosses Bocanegra and De Boer.
“Tyler is a young attacking player who has shown a lot of potential and we’re excited that his development will continue at Atlanta United,” Atlanta VP and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement. “Since joining the academy, he’s shown the drive and determination to get to that next level. We’ve been able to challenge Tyler in high-level academy matches, the USL environment, and First Team environment and he’s shown he’s belonged at each level. On the field, he has the quality and versatility to play anywhere across the front four and we believe he has capability to grow into a key contributor at the pro level.”
Please welcome Tyler Wolff.
Tyler Wolff is a talented attacking player who has featured on the wing for Atlanta United since arriving from the Columbus Crew with his younger brother, Owen, at the beginning of the 2019-2020 academy season. Wolff’s father, Josh Wolff, grew up in Stone Mountain and still has family in the area. For Tyler, having family in the area was one of the factors that kept him in Atlanta instead of following his father to Austin where Josh had recently been named Head Coach of the Austin FC expansion side set to join MLS in 2021. Tyler sees a future in Atlanta believes he has a clear path to first team minutes.
“Coming here, from outside in, the system that Atlanta brings from academy to USL to first team, there’s a clear-cut pathway for how an academy player can get to the first team,” he said.
According to Doug Robeson of the AJC, getting minutes, whether it was with the 2’s in the USL or with the first team, is Tyler’s goal. Tyler points to his father’s advice about learning from teammates and coaches on and off of the pitch as how he can continue to grow as a player. He sees himself as a similar player to Sergio Agüero of Manchester City, an athletic and crafty striker who makes runs in behind defenders and gets his teammates involved. If the 17-year-old Wolff can replicate the Argentine star’s attacking abilities, he will have a long and exciting career ahead of him.
Wolff had his breakout performance during the last academy winter showcase in Bradenton. There, Wolff enough to impress members of the first team staff. According to Doug Robeson, Wolff relied on the advice given to him by assistants Rob Valentino and Orlando Trustfull: Be yourself. And so he did. Soon after, Tyler found himself in camp with the likes of Josef Martinez and Ezequiel Barco in preparation for the MLS season. Our first introduction to Tyler came in the form of an instagram post from Tito Villalba. He looked absolutely gassed, but he held his own with the professionals.
Meza on Tyler Wolff: He's very young, but he's surprised me because he has a lot of ability. I thought he was older at first. He has a lot of potential, but we need to be patient.— Joe Patrick (@japatrick200) July 6, 2020
It didn’t take Wolff long to get his first professional minutes. After making a few cameos in the preseason, Wolff got his first start in Atlanta United 2’s only match this season against Charleston Battery. Wolff lined up at the right wing opposite Luis Fernando and played havoc on the flank, threatening Charleston fullbacks with youthfully tenacious runs. He showed some rawness in his sole performance of the year but also showcased plenty of reasons why he deserves to stick around. Apparently he has continued to impress enough in training for the club to ensure that he remains in Atlanta a lot longer.
Soon after he signed with Atlanta United, we learned that Tyler Wolff would be joining Atlanta United in the Orlando Bubble for the MLS IS BACK tournament. Not only will he get a chance to sit on the bench of a first-team side, he may actually get some minutes in the tournament. Despite the scale of the moment and the uncertainty of a tournament in the midst of a pandemic, Tyler seems relatively nonchalant and grounded during his interview about life in the bubble.
#ATLUTD's Tyler Wolff feels the MLS bubble is safe: "They've done a good job with the protocols...It's pretty quiet. There's not much other player-team from other clubs interaction." Says food is fine, it's clean, and "I don't think it's as bad as some of the players are saying." pic.twitter.com/bxVt9Qm88z— Kelly Price (@thekellyprice) July 6, 2020
Hopefully, Tyler and the rest of the squad will stay safe and healthy as they kick off the tournament this weekend. We’ll be rooting for him from our living rooms across the Southeast and around the world.
Best of luck, Tyler. 5 Stripes Don’t Stop.