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Atlanta United signs defender Alex De John

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Defensive depth for Heinze’s squad.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Atlanta United FC Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United have made a move to help their depth at centerback. The club announced on Friday that it has signed defender Alex De John for the 2021 season. De John is a New Jersey native with 12 career appearances in Major League Soccer, all previously with Orlando City in 2019 and 2020.

“Alex has been training with us since the start of our preseason and has integrated well with the group, both in the locker room and on the field,” said Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra. “He’ll add competition to our backline and has quickly proven to be a good teammate and a model professional who brings years of experience, both overseas and in MLS.”

After sending out two potential starters at centerback on loan this offseason, the need to bring in more players at the position was clear. While this move doesn’t solve the growing concerns of who’ll partner Miles Robinson in the starting lineup, it certainly increases the options Gabriel Heinze has at his disposal.

De John is 29 years old and well-traveled. Before arriving in Orlando he made stops in the Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish leagues where he played well over 100 matches. He originally signed on to play with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds for the upcoming USL season before being snatched up by Atlanta United.