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Atlanta United 2 signs two Academy players to professional contracts

Goalkeeper Vicente Reyes and midfielder Jonantan Villal are the newest members of Atlanta United 2.

EM Dash Photography

Atlanta United 2 today announced the signings of two members of Atlanta United Academy’s inaugural classes in goalkeeper Vicente Reyes and midfielder Jonantan Villal, pending league and federation approval.

Reyes, 18, was a member of the Academy’s inaugural U-13 roster in 2016. He made six starts for Atlanta United 2 over the past two seasons. His professional debut came on Sept. 2, 2020 in a 2-1 victory against Philadelphia Union II. He’s combined for 24 saves in 540 minutes of action. His career save percentage in the USL Championship stands at 64.9 percent. In the summer of 2018, Reyes earned a call up to the Chile U-17 National Team.

“Vicente has continued to progress throughout his time with our Academy and his two seasons with ATL UTD 2,” Atlanta United 2 head coach Jack Collison said. “He’s another great example for our club’s pathway, coming into our Academy at a young age and working his way up to this level. We are excited to see him take this next step in his professional development.”

Villal, 16, is from Atlanta and was a member of the Academy’s inaugural U-12 roster in 2016. The midfielder, who has been with Atlanta United since he was 11 years old, made two appearances with ATL UTD 2 this past season. His professional debut came on July 10, 2021 against Sporting KC II.

“Jonantan is another player who has steadily progressed through our Academy,” Atlanta United 2 head coach Jack Collison said. “He’s a creative, attacking-minded midfielder and he got a taste of the professional game last season. We are looking forward to watching him grow with Atlanta United 2 in this next step of his career.”

According to our resident Academy/2s expert Grey Gowder (Film_Fan):

“The Vicente Reyes signing is significant because he’s the first goalkeeper from the academy to be signed to a professional contract by the club. He’s also coming off a season where he competed for both the U-19s and 2s. Reyes will be the defacto “starter” among players on the 2s roster, unless the club brings back Rocco Rios Novo. He will likely split starts with Dylan Castanheira who them team recently brought back on a first team contract. It could even bring him more opportunities with the Chilean youth national team, and I expect him to be on their radar again soon.

“Villal made his 2s debut against SKC II in July entering as a sub for Chris Allan. He’s the youngest player on a professional contract as he’s the first player from the 2005s to be signed. He plays as a No. 10. He’s a technical and shifty player who has a lot of confidence with the ball at his feet. He loves to find openings in the opposing defense to feed his teammates. He is active and tenacious when the ball turns over but doesn’t quite have the size yet to battle USL defenders. Villal is now the 3rd academy midfielder under contract with the 2s with Jay Fortune and David Mejia already signing.”

So there you have it! Always good to see kids from the Academy earn their step up to professional contracts with the club. Hopefully it’s just the first of many for these young men and their families. Congratulations to both!