ATLANTA – Atlanta United announced today it has signed Justin Garces as a Homegrown Player for the 2022 season with options through 2024. Garces returns to Atlanta United after starring at UCLA over the last four seasons. The goalkeeper played for the Academy’s U-19 team in 2017-18.
“Justin is someone we are very excited about bringing back to the club,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “We saw the raw talent he had when he came through our Academy and made some appearances at the USL level. He has really progressed over the last four years after playing at a top program like UCLA. He has a great frame and is comfortable with the ball at his feet. We are excited to see him continue his development with our club.”
Garces, 21, spent the past four seasons with the UCLA Bruins, where he played in 57 games. He recorded 21 victories and registered seven clean sheets in his career. Garces appeared and started in a team-high 14 matches his freshman season. His first career NCAA clean sheet came on Sept. 8 in a 1-0 win at eventual NCAA Champion Maryland. In 2019, Garces started 17 of 18 matches for the Bruins. He made a total of 58 saves and finished with a 63.0 save percentage that season.
In 2020, Garces made 11 starts before closing out his collegiate career with 14 starts in 2021. This past season he recorded a career-best 1.16 GAA, while also finishing with a career-high 70.6 save percentage. He tied his single-season best with seven victories in 2021 as UCLA advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Garces earned 2021 Pac-12 All Conference Second Team honors.
Prior to college, Garces was a member of the Atlanta United U-19s and made two starts in Atlanta United 2’s inaugural season in the USL Championship in 2018. The goalkeeper was also a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team for the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where he started all five games and earned three clean sheets. He also made two appearances for the USMNT U-19’s in his career.
Name: Justin Garces
Birthdate: Aug. 23, 2000 (Age: 21)
Birthplace: Miami, Florida
Nationality: United States
Transaction: Atlanta United signed Justin Garces as a Homegrown Player on Jan. 10, 2022.
2022 Atlanta United roster (as of Jan. 10, 2022)
Goalkeepers (3): Dylan Castanheira, Justin Garces, Brad Guzan
Defenders (10): Mikey Ambrose, George Bello, George Campbell, Alex De John, Alan Franco, Andrew Gutman, Brooks Lennon, Efrain Morales, Miles Robinson, Bryce Washington
Midfielders (11): 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