ATLANTA —Atlanta United today announced it has signed Thiago Almada from Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield of the Argentine first division to a contract through 2025. Almada will be a Designated Player and occupy an international roster spot pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa.
“After an extensive and in-depth due diligence process, we have exercised our exclusive option to permanently transfer in Thiago,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “He’s a player we’ve been tracking for a long time and he’s shown that he’s one of the best young players in South America over the past few seasons. We feel that his abilities fit well with the kind of attacking soccer that we want to play at Atlanta United and we’re confident that he will be able to play at a high level in Major League Soccer.”
Almada, 20, recorded 24 goals and 11 assists in 100 matches for Vélez Sarsfield across all competitions. After passing through the club’s youth ranks, the Ciudadela, Argentina native made his professional debut at the age of 17 in a league match against Newell’s Old Boys on Aug. 11, 2018. He made 21 appearances in all competitions during the 2018-2019 season, including 16 in league play, scoring four goals and adding two assists. Almada then made 41 appearances in 2019-2020 and recorded 11 goals and three assists, including four goals and an assist in 22 Liga Profesional matches and four goals and an assist in eight appearances in the Copa Sudamericana.
Last season, Almada made 38 total appearances and tallied nine goals and six assists. He made 32 combined appearances in the Liga Profesional and the Copa de la Liga and scored seven goals with six assists. He also scored two goals in six Copa Libertadores matches as Vélez Sarsfield advanced to the Round of 16 of the competition.
“Thiago is a talented player who will add quality to our attack in the final third,” Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda said. “He’s very good at taking on defenders and creating chances for himself and his teammates. We’re very happy to welcome him to the club and look forward to integrating him into the team as quickly as possible.”
At the international level, Almada has made seven appearances for Argentina’s U-20s, scoring one goal, and three appearances with the U-23s. The midfielder also represented Argentina at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo where he made two appearances and had one assist.
Name: Thiago Almada
Birthdate: April 26, 2001 (20)
Birthplace: Ciudadela, Argentina
Transaction: Atlanta United acquires Thiago Almada from Vélez Sarsfield on Feb. 9, 2022.
2022 Atlanta United roster (as of Feb. 9, 2022)
Goalkeepers (4): Dylan Castanheira, Justin Garces, Brad Guzan, Bobby Shuttleworth
Defenders (11): Mikey Ambrose, George Campbell, Alex De John, Alan Franco, Andrew Gutman, Ronald Hernández, Brooks Lennon, Efrain Morales, Miles Robinson, Bryce Washington, Caleb Wiley
Midfielders (12): Thiago Almada, Osvaldo Alonso, *Ezequiel Barco, Jürgen Damm, Emerson Hyndman, Franco Ibarra, Marcelino Moreno, Jake Mulraney, Matheus Rossetto, Amar Sejdic, Santiago Sosa, Tyler Wolff
Forwards (5): Luiz Araújo, Machop Chol, Jackson Conway, Erik López, Josef Martínez
*Loaned to Club Atlético River Plate
Watch highlights of Thiago Almada during his time at Vélez