Drafted No. 8 in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft from Providence College, Julian Gressel has been a high-impact midfielder for Atlanta United FC since he appeared for the club in its first-ever MLS match. He was named MLS Rookie of the Year in 2017, scoring five goals and assisting on nine goals in 32 appearances for Atlanta. In 2018, Julian started 33 regular-season matches and all five playoff matches for the Five Stripes on their run to the MLS Cup Championship. He scored four goals, notched 14 assists, and was named to the MLS Team of the Week six times.
At Providence, Julian was named to a NSCAA First Team All-American, Hermann Award semifinalist, and won the Golden Boot (highest goal scorer) for the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship. Before attending Providence, Julian played at TSV Neustadt/Aish in the regional professional league in Bavaria, Germany. The 25-year-old is from Neustadt an der Aisch, Germany, and married his wife, Casey, on New Year’s Eve, 2018.
Brek Shea, a left winger, signed with Atlanta United FC in December, 2018, after two years with Vancouver Whitecaps FC in MLS. Before Vancouver, he played for Atlanta’s regional rival Orlando City SC, also in MLS. Prior to signing with the expansion club Orlando, Brek played for two seasons in England, for Barnsley and Birmingham City, being owned by Stoke City. Brek’s professional career started with FC Dallas in 2008, where he played for four years.
A College Station, Texas, native, Brek moved to Bradenton Florida to train at IMG academy as a teenager. Brek has 34 appearances for the U.S. men’s national team, scoring four goals. In his downtime, he is an abstract painter, often putting his work up for charity, boyfriend to Carling and father to Phoenix.
In his 14th professional season, defensive midfielder Jeff Larentowicz has been a steady presence for Atlanta United FC since joining the club before the 2017 inaugural season. This season, he eclipsed 400 MLS match appearances—the fourth field player to reach that milestone. Jeff has played for four MLS clubs; he started his career with New England Revolution, making 111 appearances in five seasons. He spent three seasons each with Colorado Rapids and Chicago Fire, then a year with LA Galaxy.
Jeff has won two MLS Cups. His first was with Colorado in 2010 and his second with Atlanta in 2018. He made four appearances for the U.S. men’s national team between 2011 and 2012. Jeff is a native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, and played four years at Brown University, making the All-Ivy League team each year. His wife and son live with him in Atlanta.
Born in Eschweiller, West Germany, Kevin Kratz did not come to the U.S. until 2016, when he signed for Philadelphia Union in 2016 but was transferred to Atlanta United FC shortly after. Kratz has 48 appearances for Atlanta and three goals. Prior to moving to the U.S., Kevin played for 10 seasons in the German professional system. He started at Bayer Leverkusen II, the reserve team of the famous Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Kevin then moved to Alemannia Aachen, where he played from 2009-2012 before moving to Eintracht Braunschweig. He helped the club win promotion to the Bundesliga and played one season in Germany’s top professional league before transfering to SV Sandhaus.
A free kick specialist, he famously scored on two direct free kicks against Montreal Imapact on April 28, 2018, winning Goal of the Week and Team of the Week honors. Kevin, his wife and two children live in Atlanta. His wife was pregnant when the family moved to Atlanta and she gave birth shortly after the family moved to their new home.
Brad Guzan played nine years in the English Premier League as a goalkeeper before coming to Atlanta United FC in the middle of the club’s inaugural season in 2017. He played 144 matches for Aston Villa in Birmingham, England, from 2008-2016, then transferred to Middlesbrough before the 2016-2017 season. Before going to England, Guzan was the goalkeeper for Chivas USA in its 2005 inaugural season, making 87 appearances for the Los Angeles club.
Brad has appeared in 60 matches for the U.S. men’s national team and is the only member of United to have been to a FIFA World Cup, playing with the U.S. in the 2010 and 2014 tournaments. He was also on the 2007 and 2015 Concacaf Gold Cup rosters, starting all the matches in 2015, and the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup starting one match. Though he is from Evergreen Park, Illinois, Brad is no stranger to Southern hospitality. He played two seasons at Univ. South Carolina before starting his professional career.
The only member of Atlanta United FC to play in the UEFA Champions League, defender Michael Parkhurst has been the club’s captain since it first took the field in 2017. Michael has made 79 appearances for Atlanta. The 2018 MLS Cup Championship was a long time coming for Michael, who had made four final appearances previously. He came to Atlanta from Columbus Crew SC, where he made 100 appearances from 2014-2016, captaining the club to an appearance in the 2015 MLS Cup Final. Michael played for FC Augsburg in Germany for the 2013-2014 season, but only saw the field twice. He moved to Europe in 2008 to play with Danish club Nordsjaelland. For the Wild Tigers, he made 107 appearances, won back-to-back Danish Cups, and played every minute in the six matches the club played in the 2012-2013 UEFA Champions League.
Michael’s professional career began in 2005 with New England Revolution. He appeared 115 times for the club, helping it make the MLS Cup Final in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Michael was named 2005 MLS Rookie of the Year and 2007 MLS Defender of the Year. He played for Wake Forest from 2002-2004. He has played 25 times for the U.S. men’s national team, making the 2007 and 2013 Gold Cup rosters. He also played in the 2008 Summer Olympics. The Providence, Rhode Island, native is married to Sam, and the couple live in Marietta with their children.
Gordon Wild was selected by Atlanta United FC in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft from Univ. of Maryland. For the 2018 season, the forward played on loan for Charleston Battery in USL Championship. In 2019, Gordon has bounced between the Atlanta United senior team and ATLUD 2, the USL affiliate of the parent club, making six appearances and scoring one goal for the second-division team.
At Maryland, Gordon played for two seasons, scored 22 goals and was named 2016 United Soccer Coaches’ First Team All-American, Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Big Ten. Before transferring to Maryland, Gordon played for USC Upstate, scored 16 times in 15 matches, made the All-Atlantic Sun first team and earned Atlantic Sun Rookie of the Year honors. He is from Leonberg, Germany, and obtained his U.S. green card in May, 2019.
A defender from Arlington, Massachusetts, Miles Robinson became the first-ever MLS SuperDraft pick by Atlanta United FC when he was chosen at No. 2 in 2017. Miles did not appear much for Atlanta in 2017, only featuring in the U.S. Open Cup match against Charleston. In 2018, he became a reliable backup, appearing in 10 matches. He made his MLS debut on April 7, 2018. He started the second leg of the 2018 Eastern Conference Semifinals and played all 90 minutes in both of Atlanta’s U.S. Open Cup matches.
Miles played for two seasons at Syracuse and was named 2016 ACC Defensive Player of the Year and to the All-ACC Team. He scored four goals and helped keep 11 clean sheets. on the season. In 2015, Miles was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team and the ACC All-Tournament team. He helped Syracuse keep nine clean sheets and scored four goals. Miles has also played eight times the U.S. U-20 team and is currently in the Olympic team player pool.
Hector “Tito” Villalba is one of Atlanta United FC’s most electrifying attacking players. He was the first designated player in club history when he signed back in July, 2016. He started all 34 MLS regular-season matches for Atlanta in 2017, scoring 13 goals and tallying 11 assists. In 2018, Tito appeared 28 times for Atlanta, scoring seven goals and assisting on nine. Tito has earned the moniker “The Lion Tamer” for his game-tying and game-winning goals against Orlando City SC (nicknamed the Lions) in 2017.
After signing for Atlanta, the club loaned him to Tijuana in Liga MX to finish the 2016 calendar year. Tito started his professional career with San Lorenzo, in Argentina, in 2012. He was with the club for six years, making 89 appearances and scoring 15 goals for the club. He was signed to the professional club from the youth system. Tito started training with San Lorenzo in 2004. Though born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tito elected to play for the Paraguay men’s national team in 2018 (his mother is Paraguayan). He has made two appearances for the country.
Eric Remedi, central midfielder, came to Atlanta United FC in the summer of 2018 from Atletico Banfield of the Argentine Superliga. Since coming to Atlanta, he’s been a dynamic midfielder capable of crushing tackles and incisive passing. In 2018, he started 12 matches for the club. He started all five of MLS Cup Playoff matches.
Ezequiel Barco came to Atlanta United FC from Argentine club Independiente in the winter of 2018 for a record incoming transfer fee of $15 million. In 2018, the midfielder appeared in 16 matches, scored four goals and notched two assists. Ezequiel came off the bench in all five of Atlanta’s 2018 MLS Cup Playoff matches. He played in both U.S. Open Cup matches in 2018.
Born in Villa Gobernador Gálvez, Argentina, Ezequiel trained in the Independiente youth system from 2015-2016 before signing his professional contract in July 2016. During his two years as a professional for the club, he appeared in 38 matches and scored five goals. Most notably, he scored a penalty in the second leg of the 2017 Copa Sudamericana final, helping Independiente lift the trophy. Ezequiel had a standout performance for Argentina in the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, scoring two goals and an assist in four matches.
One of the few Atlanta natives, Alec Kann returned home after being selected by Atlanta United FC from Sporting Kansas City in the 2016 MLS Expansion Draft. He was the first starting goalkeeper for Atlanta, starting the club’s first 18 MLS matches. Since the first half of the 2017 season, Kann has mostly appeared in U.S. Open Cup matches. Before coming to Atlanta, Alec spent time with Charleston Battery, Chicago Fire, Charlotte Eagles (on loan) and Sporting Kansas City. His MLS debut came on Oct. 25, 2015, for Chicago. With SKC, he started in and won a Concacaf Champions League match on Oct. 20, 2016, 3-1 over Central FC of Trinidad and Tobago.
Hailing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Leandro González Pirez has been Atlanta United FC’s starting center back since the first match in club history. In total, he has made 79 appearances and scored two goals for the club in three years. In 2018, Leandro started 32 regular-season matches, scoring one goal and tallying two assists, and started all five playoff matches. Leandro started 32 regular-season matches in 2017; his first goal for Atlanta was the first goal in Mercedes-Benz history, in the opening match on Sept. 10, 2017.
Before coming to Atlanta, he played for three five clubs, mainly in Argentina. His career started with Argentine mega club River Plate in 2011. He was then loaned to Dutch club Gent, then to Arsenal de Sarandi in 2013-2014. Leandro then moved to Tigre and started 29 matches in 2015. In 2016, Leandro transferred to Estudiante and made 10 appearances as the club finshed second in Argentina’s Superliga. Leandro and his wife, Meli, welcomed a daughter into the world in August, 2018.
Hailing from Dundalk, Ireland, Jon Gallagher was the 15th pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft out of Notre Dame. The forward played 29 matches for ATLUTD 2 in the 2018 season, scored six goals and added five assists. Jon has spent most of his time during the 2019 season with ATLUTD 2.
Though he was born in Elmira, New York, Brendan Moore is a hometown kid playing for Atlanta United FC. The goalkeeper graduated from Centennial High School in Roswell and played at the Univ. of North Carolina in college. He signed Atlanta in 2019 from Rochdale AFC, of English Football League One. In 2019, Brendan has mainly played the role of backup to Brad Guzan but has made five appearances for ATLUTD 2.
At Rochdale, Brendan appeared 14 times in two seasons, debuting on August 19, 2017. Before his move to Rochdale, Brendan bounced around England’s professional leagues. During the 2016-2017 season, he featured 46 times for Torquay United FC, in Devon. He mostly spent the 2015-2016 at Fleetwood Town FC, in Lancashire, but the club transferred him to Torquay United in 2016. Before turning pro, Brendan played for Orlando City U-23 and Mississippi Brilla in the USL Premier Development League.
A face synonymous with the Atlanta United FC technical staff, Aron Hyde has been the goalkeepers coach since the club’s first season in 2017. Aron spent 2014-2016 training goalkeepers for the U.S. youth national teams, which included current U.S. men’s national team keeper Zack Steffen at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Before his time with U.S. Soccer, he was the goalkeeper coach for Chicago Fire, in MLS, from 2010-2015. Aron served as the goalkeeping coach for the Univ. of Washington during the 2009 season.
The Birmingham, England, native earned a master’s degree in sports administration from Seattle University. There, he served as the goalkeeping coach for the men’s and women’s soccer teams. Aron originally came to the U.S. to attend and play for Judson University, in Elgin, Illinois. He also holds USSF A and goalkeeping coaching licenses as well as a UEFA A coaching license.
A franchise great and fan-favorite, Brian Finneran played 11 years in the National Football League, 10 of those with the Atlanta Falcons. The wide receiver was one a fan favorite during his time in Atlanta, earning Falcons Man of the Year honors in 2009. He scored 19 touchdowns and caught 236 passes playing for the Falcons. His 3,072 receiving yards are 15thin franchise history.
Before landing in Atlanta, Brian spent a season with the Philadelphia Eagles. He started three games and caught two passes for 21 yards for the Eagles. He was drafted by Seattle in 1998 but did not make the final roster for the season. This prompted Brian to play in a season in the NFL Europe for Barcelona Dragons. Brian played college ball at Villanova with his twin brother Brad. He started all four years for the Wildcats, catching 265 passes for 3,872 yards and 34 touchdowns. He, his wife Erin and four kids live in Atlanta, where he now acts as an on-air personality on The Fan – 680 AM and 93.7 FM.
Jason Webster, a cornerback in the NFL for nine years, was drafted No. 48 overall in the 2000 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. After four years with the team, he signed with the Atlanta Falcons, where he played the 2004-2006 seasons. In his three seasons with the Falcons, Jason played in 33 games, recording 169 tackles, forced four fumbles and picked off four passes. He moved to the Buffalo Bills in 2007, then to the New England Patriots.
In total, Jason racked up 402 total tackles, forced seven fumbles and snagged 11 interceptions. He played college football at Texas A&M, not far from his native Houston, Texas. For the Aggies, he played in every game from 1996-1999. During his senior year, Jason was given the Aggie Heart Award, a team-voted honor. After retiring, Jason became a team chaplain for the Falcons.
Ryan Harrison started his professional tennis career in 2007 and broke into the top 100 on the ATP Tour in 2011. The 2017 season was a banner year for Ryan; he won his only singles title, the Memphis Open, won the French Open men’s doubles title and reached the highest ranking of his career. The Shreveport, Louisiana, native has played for the U.S. team during 2012 and 2018 Davis Cup.
In his junior career, Ryan trained at John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in Texas. His brother, Christian, also plays professional tennis. The two partnered for a quarterfinals appearance at the 2012 U.S. Open. Ryan and his wife Lauren now live in Austin, Texas.
Zach Klein is the sports director for WSB-TV in Atlanta, anchoring several of the sportscasts for the station throughout the week. His voice on the first tee at Atlanta’s East Lake Gold Club starts the rounds for players in the PGA Tour Championship. Alongside many Atlanta media greats, he has reported on Atlanta sports and entertainment since 2008. He co-anchors the annual Georgia Salutes America and Macy’s Tree Lighting coverage with Jovita Moore and launched the “We Never Played the Game” podcast with Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution in 2016.
In 1996, Zach graduated from the Univ. of Kansas. He started his career in Kansas City, then moved to Oklahoma City and Orlando. Zach is an avid golfer and serves on the board 1st Tee of Atlanta, a youth development program that introduces kids from all socioeconomic backgrounds to the game of golf. He, his wife, two children and dog live in Atlanta.
Dukes and Bell
Carl Dukes and Mike Bell make up the soul of Atlanta’s sports-talk radio. The duo takes to the air during the afternoon drive to recap the day’s top sports headlines and pontificate on the performances of Atlanta’s teams. The show features Carl, a longtime sports broadcaster with a history of covering professional baseball, and Mike, a vagabond radio personality with an over-sized funny bone. The two are unabashed supporters of Atlanta United FC and soccer in Atlanta.