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Atlanta United announces sweeping departures in 2023 year-end moves

At least 13 players departing Atlanta United

SOCCER: NOV 07 MLS Cup Playoffs - Atlanta United FC vs Columbus Crew Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In what could have been the most anticipated story of Atlanta United’s 2023 season, the club announced its year-end roster moves ahead of the 2024 MLS season.

Options for Homegrown Players Machop Chol, Jackson Conway, Efrain Morales, and Justin Garces were declined along with the one-year option for veteran goalkeeper Clément Diop. Ozzie Alonso, Miguel Berry, Miles Robinson, Matheus Rossetto, Amar Sejdic, and Quentin Westberg are out of contract. The club remains in renewal negotiations with Morales, Robinson, and Westberg.

The loans for Juanjo Purata and Xande Silva expire at the end of the calendar year. The club has declined the transfer option on Purata and has yet to make a determination on Silva’s transfer option.

Berry, Chol, Conway, Garces, Purata, and Rossetto are eligible for the Re-Entry Draft. Alonso, Diop, Robinson, Sejdic, and Westberg are eligible for Free Agency.

In addition to announcing 13 potential departures from the club at the outset of the off-season, the club also announced the return of Aiden McFadden who returns through a contract option for the 2024 season following a loan to Memphis 901 FC. Three other players are set to join the team on January 1st including Nic Firmino, Adyn Torres, and Luke Brennan. With the addition of these three players, the club will have 21 players under contract for the 2024 season.

This offseason marks the largest departing contingent of Homegrown Players since the 2019 offseason when Andrew Carleton, Chris Goslin, Patrick Okonkwo, Lagos Kunga, and Laurent Kissiedou all were cut from the club. This news comes as MLS prepares for a widely expanded SuperDraft pool including college Juniors and Sophomores for the first time. With high-value potential Homegrown prospects in the college ranks, Atlanta United may be forced to sign key players like Will Reilly, Matt Edwards, Nigel Prince, and Grant Howard earlier than expected in addition to their projected signing of standout senior defender Garrison Tubbs this winter. While the departure of Jackson Conway may not be surprising for some fans, the loss of Machop Chol and Justin Garces feels like a cold calculation of roster mechanics with Chol being such a beloved member of the team who was starting to emerge as a key roleplayer before his injury. Garces, a former US Youth International and standout goalkeeping prospect, was seen as a clear option for Atlanta United as it looks to find Brad Guzan’s successor. As it stands, Brad Guzan is the only goalkeeper under contract for Atlanta United or Atlanta United 2 and that could quickly change if he chooses to retire.

Morales remains in talks to return to the club and could return. At 16, he was heavily scouted by top European sides like Manchester United and even trialed with them on a trip that he took with then Academy Director Tony Annan. Morales caught the attention of the Bolivian national team program and has already advanced through the youth national teams to the senior squad. Morales is a unique athletic and physical specimen who has advanced abilities in possession and passing but is still developing through his decision-making and positioning. Morales should still be considered a top prospect for Atlanta at just 19 years old and could become a dominant force like Vincent Kompany.

The MLS offseason begins on Monday, Dec. 11 with the trade window opening at 9:00 a.m. The End-of-Year Waivers process then begins on Dec. 12, followed by Free Agency on Dec. 13, and the Re-Entry Process, Stage 1 on Dec. 14.

Players under contract for 2024 (18): Luis Abram, Thiago Almada, Erik Centeno, Noah Cobb, Derrick Etienne Jr., Ajani Fortune, Giorgos Giakoumakis, Brad Guzan, Ronald Hernández, Franco Ibarra, Brooks Lennon, Saba Lobjanidze, Edwin Mosquera, Tristan Muyumba, Santiago Sosa, Jamal Thiaré, Caleb Wiley, Tyler Wolff

Option exercised (1): Aiden McFadden

Option declined (5): Machop Chol, Jackson Conway, Clément Diop, Justin Garces, Efrain Morales

Players out of contract (6): Ozzie Alonso, Miguel Berry, Miles Robinson, Matheus Rossetto, Amar Sejdic, Quentin Westberg

End of loan (3): Ezequiel Barco, Juanjo Purata, Xande Silva

2024 Atlanta United roster (as of Nov. 17, 2023)

Goalkeepers (1): Brad Guzan

Defenders (6): Luis Abram, Noah Cobb, Ronald Hernández, Brooks Lennon, Aiden McFadden, Caleb Wiley

Midfielders (11): Thiago Almada, Derrick Etienne Jr., Nick Firmino, Ajani Fortune, Franco Ibarra, Saba Lobjanidze, Edwin Mosquera, Tristan Muyumba, Santiago Sosa, Adyn Torres, Tyler Wolff

Forwards (4): Luke Brennan*, Erik Centeno, Giorgos Giakoumakis, Jamal Thiaré

*Player will join Atlanta United effective Jan. 1, 2024

Let us know what you think about these roster moves in the comments below and let us know who else you think may be departing the roster soon. Also, be on the lookout for upcoming articles about how the team can rebuild the roster in the coming weeks.