It was announced on Monday that Atlanta United has reached an agreement with Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefeld on a permanent transfer for left back George Bello. This is the first time in club history that the Five Stripes have sold a Homegrown Player abroad.
“Each player has a different path in their development, but George is a shining example of one of those pathways that our club can offer,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “He joined our original Academy program in 2016 and soon signed as a Homegrown at just 15 years old. He then made his mark at USL level, went on to debut with our First Team and ultimately played his way onto the U.S. Men’s National Team. For George, his desire was to move to Europe for an opportunity to continue his development and we wish him continued success with Bielefeld.”
From the academy to Europe is the pipeline Darren Eales dreamed of when the club was first established and now we’ve seen that scenario come to fruition just five-plus seasons in MLS.
Bello joined the Atlanta first-team on a HGP contract in January of 2018 and even played a part in the club’s MLS Cup winning season his first season. During his time at the club he worked his way into becoming a reliable starter at left back and even earned his way all the way up to the United States Men’s National Team.
Unfortunately, the reported transfer fee received by Atlanta United isn’t what many had speculated it could be because Bello’s contract was nearing its end. The club were forced to decide between accepting a modest offer now and letting Bello begin his European journey or hang onto him for one more season and lose him for absolutely nothing. In the end, they made the right choice.
Bello’s story in Atlanta is one of success and lays the groundwork for what to expect in the future. We hope he has an incredibly prosperous career from here on out. Good luck, George!