Atlanta United 2 has announced that former academy defender Matthew Edwards will return to the 2s for the 2024 MLS NEXT PRO season.
From @AcademyATLUTD to Chapel Hill and now the pros ✍️— ATL UTD 2 (@atlutd2) December 22, 2023
Welcome back to the Peach State, Matt
We recently covered Edwards in our 2023 Atlanta United Academy Alumni 2023 College Season Recap:
Edwards broke out in his second season with the Tar Heels last year earning a regular starting spot and like Tubbs, remained a regular starter despite shifting out to left-back for the 2023 season. Edwards showed this versatility while playing for Atlanta United 2 for two seasons before leaving for UNC. Edwards may not be as tall as Prince and Tubbs but he towers over the pitch and has a great deal of mobility for a player his size. He is a better centerback than left-back and may choose to return for his Senior season just to get rid of the bitter taste of his missed penalty kick in the ACC Championship final.
Edwards can play left-back and left-sided centerback, bringing good size and athleticism to the defensive unit. Fans of the 2s have already gotten a glimpse of that versatility when he played in 8 matches for the 2s in the 2020 USL Championship season. He, Garrison Tubbs, and Northwestern’s Nigel Prince make up a compelling trio of former academy centerback prospects that we anticipated would all make their way back to Atlanta. We have seen two of them return so far, albeit the short stay for Tubbs.
Though the contract may only be for the 2024 season, this is likely a prove-it deal for Edwards to earn his Homegrown Player contract in 2025 while also providing depth at left-back and at left centerback in case Caleb Wiley moves overseas.
Congratulations to Matthew Edwards. We are thrilled to welcome him back to Atlanta.
Atlanta United 2 Roster (as of Dec. 22, 2023)
Goalkeeper (1): John Berner
Defender (1): Matthew Edwards
Midfielders (8): Luke Brennan*, Alan Carleton, Matías Gallardo, Nick Firmino*, Noble Okello, Adyn Torres*, Jonantan Villal, Jacob Williams
Forwards (1): Karim Tmimi
* - becomes a First Team deal effective Jan. 1, 2024