Another season has come and gone for college soccer, but this one will be one of the more memorable ones. Due to the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on global life, many college programs delayed the start of their 2020 season to the Spring of 2021. For some teams, though, this offered a preview into a two-season competition schedule that has been rumored for several years to be coming to college soccer.
Atlanta United’s diaspora of talented academy products made a sizable impact on this season, especially in the always-competitive Atlantic Coast Conference. With that number growing each season, and with the first group of former players concluding their senior seasons, fans should expect to see a steady flow of Homegrown players returning to the program in due time.
This was Atlanta United’s first group of college players. Though it was a small group, we are already seeing a major impact from it, including the return of Machop Chol as the 10th Homegrown player in club history.
Chol concluded his final campaign with Wake Forest University as part of a prolific class of players that filled the ranks of Homegrown signings and Superdraft picks departing for MLS. Despite only playing the fall season, he earned the honor of being named as a First-Team All-South Region selection. Through his final collegiate season and the Atlanta United preseason, we saw Chol’s exciting potential in Gabriel Heinze’s system. He is fast and can make dangerous runs behind defenders to the end line. As the club rounds into form this season, fans can reasonably expect to see several cameos from this highly charismatic player as an attacking substitute. The team is in desperate need of answers on the wings so he could see his minutes increase when he returns from injury.
Another TopDrawerSoccer honor for Bryce Washington!— Pitt Men's Soccer (@Pitt_MSOC) April 7, 2021
That’s 3️⃣ TDS honors for the senior defender this season #H2P pic.twitter.com/9GAOOxz1PK
Bryce Washington also had a fantastic season and seems to have drawn enough interest from Atlanta United to potentially earn his first professional contract with the club after Pitt concludes its brilliant season.
Atlanta United is not expected to sign Washington before the 2021 MLS season, but has retained its homegrown player rights to Washington, and will have until May to exercise those rights under new MLS guidelines covering Homegrown Player rights.
Washington solidified a solid Pitt defense that consistently did just enough to allow their high-powered offense to dominate. He is the kind of highly athletic central defender who teams can never have too many of so signing Washington and then loaning him to the 2s or another USL club for the season could be the right move.
Kareve Richards concludes his final season at Mercer with more accolades. This is his third postseason honor from the SoCon after being named to the First Team in 2018 and the All-Freshman Team in 2017. Over his four-year career as a perennial starter for Mercer, Richards consistently remained one of the most reliable defenders in the conference, playing in 74 of the team’s 75 matches, starting 73 starts. He is a workhorse and a constant presence for his team.
Richards went unselected in the 2021 MLS Superdraft after being the first-ever Atlanta United academy product eligible for the draft. Short-term, Richards could move down the road to the Georgia Tormenta or to another USL League One or USL Championship team in need of defensive depth. Richards is a Canadian national so he may end up finding his way over to the Canadian Premier League.
Alhaji Tambadu has already found his next home. This summer, Tambadu will return to the NPSL’s Georgia Revolution for the third season. Like Richards, Tambadu was a constant presence for his team, featuring in nearly every match over the last four years for Georgia Southern. Tambadu is a steady central midfielder who can find the back of the net a few times per season. His upcoming season with the Georgia Revolution will be an audition of sorts for both USL and overseas teams looking for midfield depth. While his numbers on the stat sheet do not necessarily jump out at you, his Best Player Award for Atlanta United’s U-19 academy team in 2016 will turn a few heads as will his 2019 MVP award for the Aaron Olitsky Memorial Classic Tournament. Atlanta United likely still holds Tambadu’s MLS rights, which is why he was not in the Superdraft like Richards. While Tambadu would match up well with some of our midfield signings over the last two years, there may not be many roster spots left for players who are currently not in the academy. Tambadu will try to find his way onto a USL team later this summer after rejoining the Georgia Revolution in the 4th division NPSL this summer. But, if Tambadu is available this winter, there is a chance he could return to Atlanta United with the 2s.
Transfer Alert— High Point University Soccer (@HPUMSOCCER) January 29, 2021
Welcome to High Point to former @AcademyATLUTD product Aldair Cortes! 11 Goals & 11 Assists headed to play for the purple & white in August of 2021. #GoHPU pic.twitter.com/bvzkdAKhoz
Tambadu’s former teammate, Aldair Cortes, will remain in college for one more season. Late in the fall, he decided to redshirt the remainder of the 2020-2021 season in order to transfer to High Point University. Cortes was the face of a disappointing Georgia Southern team and seemed to want a crack at playing for an emergent small program. Cortes played predominantly a defensive role between the midfield and his main position at left-back. If Cortes can have a strong season at High Point, he could become the first former Atlanta United player selected in the Superdraft or he could find his way back to Atlanta. A lot of that is dependent upon how High Point and Atlanta United envision Cortes as a player. Our left-back depth situation could be one to watch as George Bello receives offers from overseas, Caleb Wiley takes another step in his development with the 2s, and Andruw Gutman returns from the Red Bulls. While he will not be ready to be a starter for Atlanta, he could be more than serviceable with the 2s in 2022 as a versatile defensive player.
Justin Garces was once a highly-touted academy signing for Atlanta United and an even higher profile commitment for UCLA. Unfortunately, he may have gotten some bad luck with his college program. UCLA has historically been a strong soccer school but has had a porous defense during Garces’ tenure leading to him making a career-high 58 saves last season including two shut-outs in a year and a career-high 10 saves against Cal. His third season did not get any better. He faced a career-high 20 shots against Stanford, saving 6, but allowing 4 goals.
59' | Justin Garces stands tall and comes up with the save on the Gloire Amanda penalty kick attempt!— UCLA Men's Soccer (@UCLAMSoccer) February 27, 2021
UCLA 1, OSU 0
| https://t.co/LWvsMXuQMh#GoBruins pic.twitter.com/mEodxfXACX
58' | Justin Garces makes a pair of huge saves to keep the Bruins within two.— UCLA Men's Soccer (@UCLAMSoccer) March 28, 2021
Of the 11 matches, he started this Spring, Garces averaged 2.07 goals per match with a 60% save percentage, the worst ratio in his three years at UCLA. It may be hard to fault the player, though, since he faced 124 shots across 11 matches with a porous defense continuing to put him in awful situations. Garces enters a crucial senior campaign this Fall that may determine whether Atlanta United decides to off him a Homegrown contract or whether he will be forced to enter the draft. Teams will have to view his worsening numbers as a product more of the team than the player, and as a valuable experience for a young keeper to weather.
Berk Watson redshirted this season after transferring to the University of San Diego from South Florida. Look for him to compete for minutes in the goalkeeping rotation later this year.
Charlie Asensio is a versatile defender who's known for contributing on both sides of the ball for #ClemsonUnited!— Clemson Men's Soccer (@ClemsonMSoccer) March 20, 2021
Learn about our #15 in this week's edition of !
If Atlanta were looking to address their fullback depth from their college ranks in the next winter window, they will not have to look further than Clemson, South Carolina. Charlie Asensio is a solid left-back. He is also a steady professional and a veteran leader for a Clemson team that continues to churn out MLS talent. While Asensio may have many flashy highlights, he is sneaky good at assisting in the buildup on the offensive side and by smothering attacking chances on the other end of the field.
Charlie will return to Clemson for his senior season and will become a coveted player for many domestic professional squads due to his experience with the USA U-17 Residency Program, Atlanta United’s academy, and a top-tier college program. Charlie’s could (at minimum) be a reserve for an MLS team but he is capable of growing into much more. Atlanta United will take a long hard look at him ahead of the next draft and may add him to a growing list of Homegrown signees. After Clemson’s disappointing loss to Marshall in the NCAA tournament, look for Asensio to lead a team with plenty to prove into the fall season.
After missing the 2019 season to a medical redshirt, Clay Dawes looked to be on track to contribute heavily as a defensive presence for one of the top teams playing last Fall. Unfortunately, the injury bug caught up with him in October and his season ended prematurely. Georgia State University look set to remain a highly talented team heading into the 2021-2022 season and could once again challenge for the top spot in the Sun Belt Conference. With competition along GSU’s 3-man defensive group heating up, Dawes’ versatility to play in the midfield may help him work his way back onto the field regularly once he is healthy again.
This was an overall disappointing season for our Junior midfielders.
Blake White disappeared this year in his Junior season with the University of Alabama-Birmingham. We are still trying to ascertain whether this was due to an injury or to an impending transfer. White was a vital element of the UAB midfield in his prior seasons so his absence was noticeable. He is a talented attacking midfielder who will be a strong addition to where ever he ends up if he departs UAB.
Victor Pereyra-Zavala played a minor role on a very good Georgia State team. In the fall, he started a few matches on the wings of Georgia State’s 3-4-3 formation but contributed very little on the offensive side of the game.
Mike Ille carved out a niche for himself as a reserve for Mercer. He played in 11 matches in the midfield and started 2. He has struggled to establish himself in college after transferring from Clemson and may be running out of time to make a real impact. For his sake, we have to hope his Senior campaign is fruitful.
.@OusJ_6 ➡️ @dawsgideon = #RoarTogether pic.twitter.com/ycUXeiSZni— Mercer Men's Soccer (@Mercer_MSoccer) March 20, 2021
Dawson Gideon earned his first postseason honor at Mercer from the SoCon after scoring four goals and adding an assist. He played in all 14 matches, starting in 11. Gideon was Mercer’s second-leading scorer behind fellow academy graduate Dylan Gaither in both points and goals scored. He also posted the second brace of his career with a pair of goals in Mercer’s 3-1 win at VMI on March 20.
This class of goalkeepers had the strongest season of any of the academy’s keepers currently playing in college and may have earned the attention of Atlanta United as potential future goalkeeping depth in two years.
Russell Shealy finally found a place to shine. After struggling to get established at the University of Maryland, and after having a rocky start at Syracuse, Shealy finally found some consistency, and with that came better form. The big break may have come with his first career shutout in a scoreless draw against the University of North Carolina. That kind of performance is something to build on. To his credit, Shealy defers a lot of credit for his success to his teammates, often praising their selfless defensive play to stymie opposing attackers. Shealy’s emergence seems to have not gone unnoticed as he became part of a bevy of former academy players headed to the Georgia Revolution (NPSL) for the summer season. Shealy will compete against two other former Atlanta United keepers and will hope to continue his positive momentum heading into a pivotal Junior season.
Men's #Pac12Soccer Player of the Week: Collin Travasos, @CalMSoc! ⚽️— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) March 31, 2021
Full Release ➡️ https://t.co/uisTJm3BEx#GoBears | #BackThePac pic.twitter.com/vW12Zjwh7g
Colin Travasos had the most impressive season of any former Atlanta United academy goalkeeper. After receiving his first opportunities with the University of California Golden Bears this Spring, he continued to impress, even besting Justin Garces in key rivalry matchups. As a Redshirt Freshman, Travasos started ten matches and made 35 saves (on 141 shots) with 15 goals allowed, good enough for a respectable 1.59 goals conceded per match average. Travasos will look to improve on that in his next season in goal.
Luke Mitchell may not be the biggest name of this defensive class but he is certainly one to be excited about. In his sophomore season at Creighton, Mitchell played in 10 matches for Creighton’s defense, starting 9. This came after being one of the few Freshmen in Creighton’s history to play over 1000 minutes in his first season. He continued his impressive rise through Creighton’s defense and should continue to make a major impact for Creighton over his remaining seasons of eligibility. He is another one of our players who does not often show up on the stat sheet but can consistently be counted on for strong play and for doing the little things that get unnoticed. By the time he graduates in two years, Mitchell could be one of the best defenders in the country.
Things have not gone as planned for Kendall Edwards. Edwards seemed destined for big things after featuring heavily for Atlanta United 2 during his final years with the academy. After departing to attend North Carolina State, Edwards suffered a series of setbacks that reduced his playing time and forced him out of the Wolfpack’s rotation. In each of his first two seasons, Edwards has played 8 matches with his starts increasing from 2 as a Freshman to 4 as a Sophomore. When given the opportunity, Edwards has played well and has thrown his body around to make big defensive stops for his team. Our biggest hope for Edwards is that he can have a healthy season and that he will get the opportunity to consistently start for his team. He certainly has the talent to be a starter in the ACC so maybe his final two college seasons will be more fruitful than his first two.
Matthew Rios had a gargantuan task in finding minutes in Georgia State’s top-tier defense last Fall but he managed to carve out a key rotational role. Rio started 2 of the 9 matches he played in and helped his Georgia State team lead the nation in shutouts, team goals, and save percentage. Georgia State has a stacked roster on defense with a lot of international players like freshman phenom Alex Henderson leading the team to play mostly with 3 at the back. If Rios can continue to get starts and increase his overall minutes, he has a very promising outlook for his final two seasons.
This class is rich in goalkeeping and midfield talent. The first of these midfielders we are going to highlight is the Messi from Macon, Dylan Gaither.
Well deserved, @dylgaither! #RoarTogether pic.twitter.com/xRLlqp5F7y— Mercer Men's Soccer (@Mercer_MSoccer) April 8, 2021
In his second straight season, Gaither earned recognition from the SoCon as an All-Freshman last year and an All-SoCon First Team player in his second. Mercer is a really bad team, but Gaither is a bright spot. Gaither was one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the conference, leading his squad with 12 points including 5 goals, tying for second in the conference in both categories, with two game-winning goals in his second collegiate season. Gaither played for Atlanta United 2 before leaving to play for Mercer. He will continue to grow and excel as an offensive wizard at the top of the Mercer midfield, but he may need to transfer if he wants to play on a winning team. Perhaps his addition to the Georgia Revolution roster could be an audition for other clubs looking for his kind of services. Gaither is a strong candidate for a Homegrown contract after his senior season in 2023 and could be a valuable addition to the Atlanta midfield as an injection of energy off of the bench early in his professional career.
TopDrawer Team of the Week— Wake Men's Soccer (@WakeMSoccer) March 30, 2021
College Soccer News Team of the Week
Hear from the man himself on his brace against Louisville. #GoDeacs pic.twitter.com/8EIIH7bdpq
Omar Hernandez has blossomed in his second season with Wake Forest. After the draft opened playing time for Hernandez, he went on a rampage to seal his claim over Wake Forest’s attacking midfield position. With his outstanding play and goalscoring form, he should be an intriguing player to watch in his upcoming Junior campaign.
It doesn't matter when. It doesn't matter where. @HdezOmar7 is going to find a way to score!— Wake Men's Soccer (@WakeMSoccer) May 3, 2021
The sophomore now has his second brace of the season! #GoDeacs pic.twitter.com/PIcrZA5BfW
Hernandez played briefly for Atlanta United’s academy while also featuring for Chattanooga. It is not clear whether he is eligible for a Homegrown contract but after the season he has had, it would not be a stretch to think Atlanta’s scouting department is watching him and some of his fellow teammates closely.
Takuma Suzuki had a surprisingly quiet spring after making himself a consistent presence in the Wake Forest rotation in his first two seasons. After starting nine matches in the fall, Suzuki just started in the only two matches he played in at the beginning of March. While Wake Forest did emphasize playing Freshmen and mostly depth players this Spring, Suzuki’s limited action does bring into question concerns over fitness or injuries. What seems more likely though is that Coach Muuss was keeping his future midfield general healthy and fresh for the playoffs. Suzuki returned to the starting lineup in Wake Forest’s opening matchup with Coastal Carolina and provided the kind of midfield stability needed to help a young Wake Forest team advance.
Ahead of Wake Forest’s playoff matchup with Kentucky Chris Del Metro of BloggerSoDear does an excellent job describing how important Suzuki is as a player:
Suzuki is a player who doesn’t really get talked about a lot for Wake, which is unfair to him. He is exactly the kind of player that Wake needs in its midfield so that the whole system can run. He always seems to make the right pass and keeps the ball well. He has a bit more bite than does the more attack minded Jake Swallen. Generally, he just does the little things right, and little plays that he can make to keep possession or move the ball are key to keeping a possession team like Wake in control.
With two of the three players in the 2021-2022 Wake Forest midfield likely to be Takuma Sukuzi and Omar Hernandez, Atlanta United fans may need to spend a little bit of extra attention on Wake Forest. Better yet, they will also get to see Garrison Tubbs continue to emerge as a brilliant centerback.
Jeremiah Luoma took a big step forward for Georgia Southern in his second season in Statesboro. In the Fall, Luoma started every match in the GSU midfield, playing 635 minutes across 10 matches. His coaches continue to be patient with his growth. They see him as a project, an exciting two-way player who can become a vital element of their vision for the future of GSU soccer. Unfortunately, that vision has not yet materialized with the team suffering an abysmal season with a combined scoring deficit of 28 goals allowed to 5 goals scored with their lone win coming against UAB. Both Luoma and his team will look to take a big step forward and to fill the leadership void opened with the departures of Aldair Cortes and Alhaji Tambadu. To prepare for his larger role on the team and to try to gain some ground in his development, Luoma is extending his season by joining the brand new Appalachian FC for their summer season. Luoma will play a hybrid role over the summer, switching between the midfield and the forward roles. This greater versatility should aid his development and increase his value long-term. Appalachian FC will play in the NPSL this summer against the Georgia Revolution and the Georgia Storm among other local squads.
The last of our Sophomore midfielders include two players who will be competing this summer for Atlanta-area fourth-division teams. Ousman Jabang had a productive season for Mercer with 9 starts across 10 matches played. Jabang offers versatility by playing as both a defender and a midfielder for Mercer. He will hope to earn more valuable playing time this summer with the Georgia Revolution. His former teammate Omar Mustafic played sparingly in his first season with Georgia Southern. After failing to break in with UNC Charlotte, Mustafic transferred to GSU where he appeared in 8 matches with one start last fall. Mustafic joins the Southern Soccer Academy’s USL League Two team this summer to attempt to gain valuable experience to earn more minutes in his second season with the GSU Eagles.
The stage is set for James Brighton. Following the departure of key attacking players in the draft, Brighton ascended to the starting spot at center forward. Brighton is a massive forward with good hold-up play and savvy ability to get into the right spots. While Brighton needs to find the back of the net more than he managed this Spring, he should be set for a big Fall with Clemson’s next wave of attacking prospects gaining valuable experience around him. As a Redshirt Sophomore, Brighton has two more seasons of eligibility for the Clemson Tigers and will probably use them to become a highly coveted senior in the 2023 Superdraft.
Liam Butts had a disappointing season. An injury-marred season slowed what had been a prolific rise as one of the top goal-scorers in college soccer. As the spring season progressed, Butts gradually found his footing as a substitute for the Nittany Lions, scoring key goals to get Penn State back to the NCAA tournament. When asked about how his coach Jeff Cooke handled his tumultuous season, Butts shared, “Jeff (Cook)’s been really good at just putting me in really good positions. I think if I just keep on working hard and keep on listening to my coach that more goals and more opportunities will come.” Liam is still a young player with plenty of time to regain his impressive form. Expect a bounce-back year starting this fall.
Michael Chappelear earns AAC All-Conference Second Team— Memphis Men's Soccer (@MemphisMSoccer) April 14, 2021
While Michael Chappelear’s first season at Memphis may not have resulted in many wins or many goals, he has to be pleased with his debut. After transferring from the University of South Carolina Upstate to Memphis, Chappelear immediately earned himself a place in Memphis’s starting lineup. Chappelear played nearly every minute of his first season, including a lot of overtime thrillers, peppering opposing keepers with 23 shots (12 on goal). Though he only found the back of the net once, he has to feel that more of those goals will come next season. For his strong sophomore performance, Chappelear was awarded All-Conference Second Team honors as one of just nine underclassmen to receive those honors across both All-Conference teams. This summer, he will return to the Atlanta area to compete in the USL League Two for Southern Soccer Academy 2.
Josh Hangi is another academy graduate headed to the Georgia Revolution. Hangi is a highly skilled young goalkeeper with immense potential. He is currently poised for a four-way competition to be the successor to Akron’s senior goalkeeper. If Hangi can impress over the summer, he may have a leg up on his competition heading in the fall training camps. In his lone appearance for Akron, so far, Hangi earned a clean sheet with three saves. That’s not bad for a debut.
Sai Brown has been extremely patient and must be wondering when he will get his shot. After redshirting his first season at Georgia Southern, he went unused in his second year. Maybe the third year is the charm?
. . Congrats to Garrison on being named to the 2020 ACC All-Freshman Team! #GoDeacs pic.twitter.com/gkF6Muw2j4— Wake Men's Soccer (@WakeMSoccer) April 14, 2021
Garrison Tubbs benefitted immensely from his 2s experience. Tubbs earned his place with the 2’s in 2019 alongside George Campbell and cemented his place as a regular starter in 2020 alongside team captain Mo Jadama. When Tubbs left Atlanta United for Wake Forest University, he was immediately called upon early in his Freshman season when redshirt senior Michael DeShields went down with a season-ending neck injury. Without missing a beat, Tubbs stepped right into the Wake Forest defense and earned himself a place on the ACC All-Freshman team. Tubbs could certainly stay with Wake Forest and continue to grow in their high-quality program, but it may be better for him to join the professional ranks soon. We could see Atlanta United offer Tubbs a contract sooner rather than later, potentially ahead of the 2023 MLS season.
PLAYER ANNOUNCEMENT : University of Dayton, South African defender, & U20 South Africa national team player Geni Kanyane will be joining the Dutch Lions for the 2021 USL League Two Season(Pending ITC Approval). Welcome Geni! #ddlfc #uslleaguetwo #gatewaytoprofessionalsoccer pic.twitter.com/O57WRyeclz— Dayton Dutch Lions (@DaytonDutchLion) April 27, 2021
Full transparency, I’m not sure how we ended up with the academy player rights for Geni Kanyane but I’m sure glad we have them. Kanyane is a South African-born left-back who first got noticed by Atlanta United when at his prestigious New England school, Putnam Science Academy. Based on accolades from his former coach and athletic director, Kanyane seems to be another high-character young athlete with experience at the U-20 level for South Africa and with an intriguing toolset at an important skill position. He is a two-way fullback who gets involved in the offensive side of the game and creates a handful of shots per match. It is impossible to say how long he will play for the University of Dayton but as a freshman, he immediately made an impact with 6 starts in 7 appearances against some of Dayton’s conference rivals. Dayton played a mixture of 3 and 4-defender formations throughout the season so Kanyane got some experience in fullback and wingback roles. Though he was statistically quiet in his first year, we will likely hear a lot more from him soon as he extends his season with the local Dayton Dutch Lions of USL League Two this summer.
Alex Bahr joined Georgia State after briefly playing 4th division soccer in the Atlanta area for Atlanta SC. He found himself near the bottom of the defensive ladder at GSU with a lot of talent ahead of him. He did manage to make three brief cameos in the fall season and will look to earn a larger role on the team in his sophomore season.
GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLL!— UNCG Men's Soccer (@UNCGMensSoccer) April 29, 2021
WE. ARE. NOT. DONE. YET.
Theo Collomb scores his 8th goal of the season off of a pass from Daniel Mangarov.
It's 2-1 Omaha with 17 minutes remaining. pic.twitter.com/k7pBkO5b7I
Daniel Mangarov made an immediate impact with the 2021 SoCon champions. As a Freshman, Mangarov started 12 of the 14 matches he played in the midfield for UNC Greensboro on the way to the NCAA playoffs. When his team was in need, Mangarov somehow found a way to thread the perfect final ball to lead to a winning goal. UNCG is a team on the rise with a lot of young talent. Based on his first season of experience with them, Mangarov seems set to be a key player in their rise. Even though they bowed out of the playoffs early this year, most of this team will be back and they will be determined to prove they belong at that level again. Mangarov will compete for the North Carolina Fusion U-23 team in USL League Two this summer.
Chase Oliver did not have quite the impact for Wake Forest as his teammate Garrison Tubbs, but he still earned himself a lot of minutes off the bench. Between the fall and the spring seasons, Oliver appeared in 15 matches, starting one against Boston College on March 6th. On a very young team, he continues to make himself relevant, averaging nearly thirty minutes per match in the playoffs. Chase is a talented offensively-minded midfielder who will play as an attacking midfielder, a wide midfielder, and a wide forward depending upon the needs of his team. While he did not get a chance to display his goalscoring ability during the regular season, Oliver gave his coaches and fans plenty to be excited about. Chase Oliver will compete this summer for the Southern Soccer Academy Kings of the USL League Two.
Jordan Matthews may be the most fortunate player on this list. After a promising freshman campaign, his South Carolina Gamecocks team is set for a coaching change, and his new coach just happens to be his former academy director Tony Annan. Matthews played in 14 matches for the Gamecocks, starting 8, and often played in a more advanced role than when he was still in the academy. While that change may require him to play as more of a wide midfielder or wing instead of a forward, Matthews is still able to use his speed and crossing ability to aid his team. Before departing the academy, Matthews was one of a trio of academy players who trained with Aberdeen during the offseason. With Annan retaking control over Matthews’ development, we should all be intrigued by his future.
Victor Delgado and Miguel Gonzalez are heading to the Georgia Revolution this summer. Revolution Head Coach Ricky Davey gushed about each player:
“Miguel is a hungry, direct, attacking player. He likes to score goals, assist goals, and create opportunities in and around the box. His ball carrying ability, and combination play will offer great variety in the attacking third. He brings a different dimension to our attack.”
“Vic is incredibly technical & and has a great understanding of the game. His awareness on the field is second to none, and speed of foot will help us in midfield and in wide areas this summer. A superb addition to the NPSL squad for 2021.”
Miguel currently plays for Georgia Gwinnett College while Victor Delgado formerly played for NC State before being left off of the spring squad. Joining them is fellow academy alumnus Alexis Iturria who plays for Clayton State. Iturria made an early impact for Clayton State in his freshman season, scoring a goal and earning two assists over five appearances. Georgia Revolution also complimented Iturria who earned his way onto the Revolution through their open tryouts:
“We are delighted to add Alexis to the NPSL squad this season. He was a standout at the open tryouts, and brings exactly what the group needs in terms of his versatility, skill, and his determination. I think it says a lot that out of 40+ players he stood tall, and stood out in that environment. Can’t wait to see Alexis development through the summer months”.
Remi Smith played very little in his first season at the Air Force Academy. Overall, he appeared in three matches with his longest appearance lasting 45-minutes.
Tavon Mussenden seems to have been redshirted for his first season at Florida International University. After joining FIU as part of their #19-ranked recruiting class, he went conspicuously absent from their season. We hope to see Tavon back out there soon in the FIU midfield.
Natnael McDonald has had a rollercoaster ride with Akron. After redshirting through a brutal season two years ago, he went unused as a redshirt freshman and has now transferred to Mercer. With so many former Atlanta United players at Mercer, this must feel like a bit of a homecoming for him so hopefully, a reunion with Dylan Gaither and Dawson Gideon is exactly what he needs.
After not appearing in the University of Pittsburgh’s fall season, Brandon Clagette took full advantage of the departure of several offensive players to work himself into the rotation. In the spring, Clagette played 146 minutes over 8 matches and will likely see his role increase in his sophomore season. Clagette will play for the Southern Soccer Academy Kings in USL League Two this summer.
Miguel Ramirez also had a quiet freshman season at Duke. After appearing in just two matches in the fall, he went on to feature in another seven matches in the spring on his way to 201 minutes of valuable experience. His most impressive match came against Pittsburgh as he scored his first goal and tallied the first assist of his collegiate career against one of the best teams in college soccer. Miguel Ramirez will compete this summer for the Southern Soccer Academy Kings of the USL League Two.
Michael Wilkerson had the quietest season of our freshmen forwards, appearing in just two matches for the University of San Diego, totaling 47 minutes of playing time. He made those chances count, though, scoring the winning goal against Gonzaga in his second match. This summer he will play for his hometown side of Asheville City SC in the USL League Two.
PLAYERS WITH CANCELLED SEASONS
- Samual Morton - Goalkeeper - Princeton University
- Will Crain - Centerback - Brown University
- Nico Perez - Midfielder - Brown University
- Thomas Toney - Centerback - Yale
- Anthony Reaves - Fullback - Cornell University
Here is a list of other players who were at one time affiliated with Atlanta United but did not graduate with the academy or only spent a short time with the academy. This is a growing list as more players are identified as being former members of the academy. If you know of a player that is missing then please let us know in the comments.
- Devin “DJ” Benton - the University of Alabama - Birmingham
- Anthony Diaz - Barton Community College
- John Michael Bandy - University of Kentucky & Southern Soccer Academy Kings (USL L2)
- Trevor Byrne - Anderson University & Southern Soccer Academy Kings (USL L2)
- Tanner Carlson - Belmont University
- Logan Luque - Georgia Southern University
- Kahsay Sahlu - Tyler Junior College
- Bryant Jackson - Mercer University
- Josiah Blanton - James Madison University
- Josh Francombe - Elon University & Southern Soccer Academy Kings (USL L2)
- Craig McIlwraith - Colgate College
- Jamie Orson - Yale University
- Brandon Parrish - Clemson University
- Ryan Schewe - Georgetown University
- Owen Travis - the University of Alabama - Birmingham
- Trace Umstead - Elon University
- Jeremiah Zuniga - Loyola University Baltimore
- Michael Chappelear - University of Memphis & Southern Soccer Academy Kings (USL L2)
- Brant Zulauf - Mercer University & Georgia Revolution (NPSL)
- Bryant Jackson - Mercer University
- Michael Johnson - University of Chicago
- Emmanuel “Landon” Ameres - Virginia Tech
- Akinjide Awujo - Villanova & Southern Soccer Academy Kings (USL L2)
- Manuel Carrillo - Clayton State University
2021 Commitment Tracker
- Matthew Edwards - University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
- Coleman Gannon - University of Indiana
- Josh Kenworthy - UC Irvine
- Will Reilly - Stanford University
- Wasswa Robbins - Navy
- Asparuh Slavov - University of Virginia