Tuesday marked a memorable day at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground as U.S. international goalkeeper Brad Guzan was officially unveiled to local media in his first press conference with the club. Guzan was joined by club president Darren Eales and technical director Carlos Bocanegra to discuss his move to the club and how he’s settling in at his new home.
“We’re always looking to evolve the squad,” Eales said. “Brad Guzan ticks three boxes we need: first his play on the pitch. This is a guy who’s played more than 150 times in the Premier League, so he’s played at the top level. Secondly, the leadership qualities Brad brings to us. The fact he’s captained his country, he’s also played in MLS. We’ve got a young core of the team with young South American players, but we need that MLS experience, we need that know-how and savvy in the locker room. And the final thing was his character. The way we’ve built this club, the connection we’ve tried to build with the fans and the community, it was really important that we have players that have great character, and in Brad we know we have someone that ticks that box as well.”
With head coach Tata Martino confirming earlier in the day that Guzan will start in goal for Atlanta United against Orlando City on Friday, Bocanegra pointed to the contribution Guzan will make on the field.
“Brad immediately elevates the level of play on this team and the competition on this team,” Bocanegra said. “Brad’s a fierce competitor, but what he’s going to bring is high character, high leadership. He’s a great teammate, which is super important to us as a young club and a young team. In the dressing room, we’re going to be counting on him in there but also on the field as well.”
Guzan says he knew early on in his conversations with club leadership that Atlanta United was building the club the right way, and that seeing it unfold from afar has only validated his decision to move back to MLS.
“After having the conversations with Carlos and Darren, and understanding what the plan and the vision was for this club moving forward, you could start to see the plan come together. This training ground is a testament to the club’s hard work and the owners as well, and how the city of Atlanta has been able to welcome a soccer team here in the city with open arms. I was able to see that and get a glimpse of that at the beginning, and now to be at the training ground and amongst the guys in training, you couldn’t ask for much more.”
Guzan touched on a wide variety of topics, from his time in the Premier League to his first impressions of the city of Atlanta. Watch the press conference in full right here: