Atlanta United announced today it has signed defender Tyrone Mears. Atlanta previously acquired Mears’ rights from Seattle in exchange for $50,000 in General Allocation Money.
“We’re happy to add another veteran piece to our back four,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said. “Tyrone has a great deal of experience and has helped his clubs achieve success wherever he’s played, including winning MLS Cup this past season and also helping his teams secure promotion twice while playing in England.”
Mears, 33, comes to Atlanta after two successful seasons with Seattle which ended in winning the 2016 MLS Cup. A native of Manchester, England, Mears spent majority of his career playing in England’s Premier League and Championship prior to joining MLS in 2015. The veteran fullback played more than 200 matches in England, beginning his career with Manchester City in 2001. Mears then enjoyed stays with Preston North End (2002-06), West Ham United (2006-07), Derby County (2007-09), Burnley (2009-2011) and Bolton Wanderers (2011-14).
In his two seasons with the Sounders, Mears played 65 of the club’s 68 league matches, starting all of them. In his first season in MLS, he scored one goal and registered two assists, including one in his debut against New England Revolution (March 9). Mears also led the team in minutes in 2015 and started all three of their playoff matches. In 2016, Mears cemented his reputation as one of the league’s top fullbacks, making 32 starts and ranking No. 2 on the team in minutes behind Jordan Morris, and No. 11 in the league. He anchored the Seattle defense which finished No. 7 in goals allowed and No. 6 in shots on goal allowed. Mears started and played the full 90 minutes in all six of Seattle’s postseason matches, including the 2016 MLS Cup final against Toronto FC which ended in a penalty shootout victory for the Sounders.
Prior to his MLS career, Mears played with Bolton for three seasons. He compiled 32 appearances across all competitions including playing in both the Premier League and Championship. Mears also spent two seasons with Burnley from 2009-2011 alongside now-teammate Chris McCann who captained the team. In his first season with The Clarets, Mears started all 38 Premier League matches and recorded a career-high six assists. Burnley suffered relegation to Championship for the 2010-11 season, however while there, Mears set a new career-high with eight assists over 44 matches while adding one goal.
Mears became a regular first-team starter with Preston North End in the 2002-03 season and remained with the club until 2006, totaling 73 appearances. From there he moved to West Ham for one season where he made his Premier League debut in 2006 against Charlton (Aug. 19). Mears then moved to Derby County where he spent two seasons, helping the club earn promotion to the Premier League for the 2007-08 season.