Even with the 2021-22 USL Championship season almost at its conclusion, the individual accomplishments keep coming at The Proving Ground. Three ATL UTD 2 players earned themselves international call ups in the month of September; Midfielder Ajani Fortune, goalkeeper Vicente Reyes and midfielder Jonny Villal. All three are Atlanta United Academy products.
Fortune, at just 19 years old, was called up to the Trinidad and Tobago senior national team, for which he already has two caps. The Soca Warriors will play in the 2022 King’s Cup in Thailand from Sept. 22-25, joining the host nation as well as Malaysia and Tajikistan.
Fortune has played in 23 games this season for ATL UTD 2, starting 19 times. The latest Atlanta United Homegrown was given the captaincy after the mid-season departure of Robbie Mertz and has thrived in that role so far, ATL UTD 2 head coach Jack Collison said.
“AJ has been fantastic,” Collison said earlier this season. “He’s really stepped into [the captaincy] and embraced it. We always knew he had incredible potential. Now there’s a little more expectation from us. He hasn’t gone under, he’s thriving [in] it.”
Reyes, 18, was called up by the Chilean U-20 national team for the second time this year to compete in the Costa Cálida Supercup, to be played between Sept. 21-27 in Murcia, Spain. Chile will face the likes of England, Australia and Morocco in the tournament.
Reyes has started in net 14 times this season for the 2s, sharing the starting role with Justin Garces, and boasts 72 saves, good for seventh-most in the league. He was called up to a camp with the Chile senior national team earlier this year.
Villal was called up to the Mexico U-18 national team for the second time in two months. The 17-year-old is currently training with the group in Mexico that will later travel to the Czech Republic for friendlies against Finland on Sept. 21, Slovakia on Sept. 23 and Germany on Sept. 25.
Villal has made 20 appearances for ATL UTD 2 this season, starting in five games and recording three assists. He most recently helped Jackson Conway break the single season goalscoring record when his through ball found the forward late in the game against FC Tulsa for the winner.
“Jonny’s a kid I believe in so much,” Collison said after the Tulsa match. “Before he came on tonight, I said, ‘you’re going to win us the game.’... I feel we need to be patient with him, but you can see some of the stuff he does with the ball. It’s just phenomenal, it’s out of this world.”