A year ago, Miguel Almirón and Tito Villalba were the new kids on the block, getting used to their new surroundings in a new league and city. Now they’re on the other side, helping Atlanta United’s latest signings adapt to a new home.
“We’re always here to help each other,” Almirón said, through a translator. “That’s one great thing about this team is we’re very united, so we’re all here to help each other out.”
After an offseason spent back in their native South America, they said it was an eye-opening experience how much MLS has grown in their home towns.
“I spoke to a lot of people I knew there and they all asked me what the league was like, what the demands are here,” said Villalba. “They all saw that I’ve grown a lot as a player and I’ve added a lot as a player.”
“It’s true that you can see [MLS] much more in South America now,” Almirón added. “It’s getting better every year, the league is bringing in younger players, good young players. And that’s good for the league.”
But after some well-deserved time off, it’s time to focus on the next chapter in Atlanta United’s history. That means settling in with new teammates and pushing on from last year’s unforgettable inaugural season.
“I think the club made a big effort to bring in good players this offseason,” Almirón said. “I don’t think my role changes, but they’re very good players and they’re going to bring a lot of good things to the club. I think with those guys we’ll feel even better on the field.
“We need to just maintain everything we’ve been doing, we’re on a good path right now,” Villalba said. “To help Barco and the other new signings join the team smoothly, then hopefully we can be like last year where we are fighting at the top of the league.”
Both players acknowledged matches aren’t won with offseason transfers, and that it will take hard work to top last year’s season. While both of them say they want to improve personally, there’s only one team goal on their mind.
“We want to win the league.”
The quest for a title starts in March, with the home opener against DC United on March 11th. Single-match tickets are now on sale, click here to reserve your spot.