If you have not yet met one of our favorite academy alumni, then we are pleased to introduce you to Machop Chol. Machop Chol joins Atlanta United as the club’s 10th homegrown signing and first such signing to rejoin the club after playing college soccer.
Chol is a tall winger (1.88 meters) with a smooth crossing touch. Now midway through his senior season, Atlanta United and Chol have decided his professional future will be back in his hometown.
Chol joined the Atlanta United Academy as part of the inaugural U-17/18 team in 2016. He worked hard to get there. After immigrating from South Sudan with his family in 2000, he discovered his love for soccer at the local community center pitch in Clarkston, Georgia. From there, his dedication to the game earned him a place with the DDYSC Wolves, and finally with Atlanta United. Upon joining the Academy, Chol relished the opportunity to let his hard work speak for him.
“With the level of competition, it taught me that I had to work and earn every minute on the field,” Chol told ATLUTD.com. “I was also fortunate to learn and get to play against the first team players. It gave me the motivation to go to school and develop as a player if I ever want to compete with those guys.”
“My favorite memory with the Academy was playing in the playoffs and being able to wear the same kit as the first team,” Chol continued. “It was surreal for me to think last year I was playing for the YMCA, and now I’ll be lining up against other MLS academies.”
Chol’s impressive performance for Atlanta United’s academy earned him a scholarship to Wake Forest University where he scored off the bench in his debut as a freshman. He dramatically improved with each year under Coach Muuss at Wake Forest and projects to continue his growth in the right system.
Chol is gangly, quick, and has a deft touch to curl tantalizing crosses into the box from the right wing. Imagining Chol lobbing chances in for Josef Martinez is enough to get any Atlanta United fan salivating. In 2021, Chol spends more time with the 2’s or as a substitute to bring late-game height to the attack. Chol’s stature and attacking prowess project to pair well with the tall and entertaining Mackey Diop with the 2’s is enough to fill some seats at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in 2021.
Chol paved the way for a growing contingent of academy alumni at Wake Forest and seemed to relish that role, bringing passionate leadership to his team on and off the field. His joy, skill, and willingness to work hard will make him an instant fan favorite. By all accounts, the team kept close contact with Chol during his four years at Wake Forest leading to a growing interest in his return over his final two years with the Demon Deacons. To facilitate that, Atlanta United signed him as the 10th Homegrown player to prevent losing him in the MLS Superdraft. Perhaps Chol will pave the way, once again, but this time for Academy graduates returning to Atlanta United after impressing at the college level.
Congratulations Machop! Welcome back to Atlanta.