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Atlanta United sign group of players to USL contracts

ATL UTD 2 is rounding into shape.

SOCCER: AUG 15 MLS - Dynamo at Revolution
A.J. Cochran, one of ATL UTD 2’s first signings, will bring both USL and MLS experience to the table.
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

Atlanta United 2 is slowly but surely shaping its roster in preparation for the team’s opening training session on February 12. While we can infer which of Atlanta United proper’s current roster will play with the second team, the front office has made several moves that will bolster ATL UTD 2’s lineup for 2017.

Former St. Louis FC defender A.J. Cochran, teenager Diego Lopez, former Charlotte Independence defender Jack Metcalf and ex-Bethlehem Steel FC midfielder/forward Yosef Samuel have been signed to USL contracts, making them ATL UTD 2’s first signees.

“Both AJ and Jack will lend experience and leadership to the group while Diego and Yosef are exciting young players who fit nicely into the club’s style of play,” ATL UTD 2 head coach Scott Donnelly said in a statement provided by the team “I couldn’t be happier to start building our roster with this group of players.”

Cochran and Metcalf radd a measure of veteran leadership, having combined for 89 career USL appearances. Don’t be surprised to see one or both of them occasionally being called up as depth options for the first team, which can happen four times and up to four days maximum for each callup. (More on such USL/MLS rules later.)

Lopez is a 16-year-old forward and a member of the current U.S. under-17 national team pool. Samuel came up in the Philadelphia Union’s academy system, but this will be a homecoming for him after being adopted from Ethiopia by a family from Atlanta as a child.

There’s sure to be several more announcements made over the next few weeks on the ATL UTD 2 front. For now, though, the building blocks are being put in place in earnest now.