Atlanta United announced that goalkeeper Ben Lundgaard signed his first MLS contract as part of his promotion from Atlanta United 2. Lundgaard is under contract for the 2021 season with options for two additional seasons, and will likely fill one of the team’s remaining Supplemental Roster Slots.
“Ben has been a model of consistency and hard work since joining Atlanta United 2 and he’s earned an opportunity with the First Team,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “He’s still young for his position and has a great opportunity to learn from our current group of goalkeepers, while providing additional competition.”
The 25-year-old goalkeeper had a fantastic year with the 2s in 2020. He started nearly every match and managed to bring some composure to a very young team. That youth in front of him led to him finishing sixth in the USL Championship in saves with 47 made overall on the season, two being penalties.
Getting to the MLS involved a long roundabout process for Lundgaard who played four years for the Virginia Tech Hokies before being drafted by the Columbus Crew. He played two seasons on loan in the USL with the Indy Eleven in 2018 and Pittsburgh Riverhounds in 2019 before transferring to Atlanta United 2 ahead of the 2020 season.
The 6-foot-6 goalkeeper brings size and youth to the position group anchored by team veterans Brad Guzan and Alec Kann. With both keepers ahead of him over the age of 30, and Kann playing on a year-to-year contract with the team, Lundgaard could find himself in line for more opportunities at the MLS level including Kann’s #2 spot in 2022 and a chance to compete for Guzan’s starting spot if the veteran continues to struggle.
With many of the roster restrictions that hindered the movement of players between MLS and USL rosters in 2020 remaining in 2021, Lundgaard will likely remain with the MLS roster for the majority of the season with limited playing opportunities in US Open Cup matches (if those occur) and in emergency starts. Lundgaard’s absence should open opportunities for an exciting position battle between youth international phenoms Rocco Rios Novo and Vicente Reyes who will each seek to earn the contracts with the club and the right to be Brad Guzan’s heir apparent.
Overall, this signing is a great move by the club and a great move for Ben Lundgaard. Congratulations to all.