Atlanta United have announced that midfielder Jeff Larentowicz has been re-signed to the team ahead of the 2018 season. Larentowicz, who sits at #9 all-time in MLS appearances, became a fan favorite and a key piece in the center of Atlanta United's midfield in the team's inaugural season. He sat down with ATLUTD.com to give us his reaction to the news as he prepares to rep the red, black and gold next year.
What’s your initial reaction to the news that you’re officially coming back next year?
My first reaction is I’m extremely happy. I feel like a piece of this team, a piece of this organization and I wanted that to continue. I’ve moved a bit lately, and I feel like I’ve made another home. So I’m glad I’m staying.
You’ve had to move around a bit over the past few years, what does it mean to you and your family to be able to settle more in Atlanta?
It’s important for everybody. You go to training for a few hours every day, but the rest of the time you’re with your family. It’s easy from the outside to just think about players as the guy on the field every Saturday, but so much more goes into it. You have to take care of the people you love, and being able to stay in the same place and have a little consistency in their lives makes everyone happy. I think it’s a main part in the decision-making progress.
What did you learn about Atlanta this past year that you didn’t know before?
I think people always say everyone in the South is friendly and is family-oriented and I think that’s very true. I’ve met a lot of really nice people that have said really nice things to me, even people who don’t really follow soccer have been fun to meet and get to know. That’s been really good for a player like me who has a family, to bring them into a place that brings you in with open arms is kind of a relief.
What, as a player, made you realize you wanted to come back to Atlanta?
The list is too long to say in an interview, really. Everything about it. We have a good thing and I want to continue to be a part of the city, the fan base, the club. Training and seeing the faces you enjoy being around is an important part of your professional life, and that’s what staying means. So that’s a good thing and I’m looking forward to 2018.
What was your favorite moment of the 2017 season?
My favorite moment was probably the last match at Bobby Dodd Stadium, when we scored that goal at the last minute against Orlando City. It just seemed perfect, it was a perfect moment. Bobby Dodd is in the past, but it has a special little place for me and probably a lot of people, and that was a really special one.
What are you most looking forward to in 2018?
I’m most looking forward to getting rolling again. I feel like we had something going last year and kind of got cut off, almost like you’re in the middle of a conversation and we got cut off mid-sentence. I’m ready to continue the conversation and get going again. I think day one is going to be exciting, and I’m sure many players on the team will bring that same excitement into the first day.
What is your message to the fans heading into the new season?
Don’t change. Do exactly what you did last year. and do not change.