After a strong performance in Atlanta United’s opening preseason friendly against Birmingham Legion, Atlanta United has signed academy forward Ashton Gordon to an MLS NEXT Pro contract for the 2024 season and a Homegrown Player contract effective Jan. 1, 2025.
Gordon was one of several academy prospects to feature for their national team programs at the 2023 CONCACAF U-17 Championship in Guatemala. Gordon and his former teammate Malachi Grant represented Jamaica. Gordon scored in his debut against Cuba in what would become a 4-2 victory for the Reggae Boyz.
The Jamaican U-17 international joined Atlanta United’s Academy in January 2019 and played up two age groups last season with Atlanta’s U-17s. In June 2023, Gordon played alongside fellow Homegrown Adyn Torres on the U-16 team that won an MLS NEXT Cup championship, scoring a team-high four goals in the playoff rounds of the tournament.
In our last “Next Homegrown” article, this is how we described the young forward:
Another dynamic winger for the academy is Jamaican U-17 Ashton Gordon. Gordon began his development with the academy primarily as a center forward, but seems to have found new life at the right wing. He is really fast, has a great feel for the game, and can be very direct in moving the flow of the game towards goal. Most of all, he’s a playmaker who makes his counterpart’s life hell in trying to keep track of him when the ball turns over. He was the leading goal scorer in the MLS NEXT Cup Play-offs for the U-16s and trained with the 2s and was on the bench for several matches in 2023. He has not yet made his debut but I expect that we will see a lot more of him in 2024.
Based on this news, it looks like we will indeed see a lot more of him in 2024. He will immediately slot in as competition for Karim Tmimi with the 2s or on the wing alongside him and could have the flexibility of developing into a dynamic forward option off of the bench behind Giakoumakis, Saba, and Xande Silva.
Gordon’s Atlanta United First Team contract runs through 2026 with options for 2027 and 2028. This contract model seems to be the preferred method for working academy prospects into the professional game, first with a year or two with the 2s and then a guaranteed promotion. The same contract was given to SuperDraft pick Jayden Hibbert earlier this month. This is a fantastic way to reward rising talent in the academy and to develop a strong pipeline of talent for years to come.
Congratulations Ashton Gordon!