New Atlanta United goalkeeper Brendan Moore may have been halfway across the world, but he’s always had a key eye on Atlanta United.
“I heard about Atlanta United before the franchise even started,” he says. “People had been hoping for it to happen for long before it did. For it to then come to fruition, then the success it has had has been amazing.”
There’s a reason he’s paid such close attention. Before going abroad to play in the English soccer pyramid, he was just a kid in Roswell, Georgia. He played in goal for Centennial High School and the Concorde Fire, before graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill.
“After that, I was thinking about my options,” he says. “I was hoping to get drafted by an MLS team and start my career from there. But I got an opportunity to go on trial with a few clubs in England, and that led to being exposed to other clubs while over there.”
And that’s how a whirlwind few years through England’s lower divisions began. Brendan started at Fleetwood Town before spending time at Torquay United and Rochdale, impressing at every stop on the way. But it was off the field where he believes most of his development in England took place.
“It was just a differnet life experience, living in a different country,” he says. “Going there on my own, not knowing anybody –– from an off-the-field character perspective, it was testing at times. On the field, I hope I’ve grown. I think I have. I was 22 when I moved over there. I had lived at university on my own, but that’s not really like living on your own in the real world. So it was a steep learning curve for me.”
All the while, Brendan watched from afar as his hometown Atlanta United went from a rumor, to a club, to an MLS champion. The games were often on in the middle of the night in England, so he followed on social media and tuned in when he could as his family became diehard fans. Then he heard of a chance about playing there himself.
“I wasn’t really thinking about coming back up until early December. I knew going to England that I wanted to come back at some point and play in MLS. I’d been there for four years. The opportunity came and I knew it was right. Being in Atlanta is a little more special for me.”
Moore’s family in the area has eased the transition back to the United States, but there’s plenty he has to adjust to. That includes a new club, and especially, a new coach.
“He’s very organized. He’s focused on structure, defensive shape, getting every aspect right. He’s very detail-oriented, which I think is very good. Working with someone who knows exactly what he wants and how he wants things to work can not only know that but be able to communicate it to the players is very important. He himself is such a good player. I think he’ll be very good for the club.”
Now he says he can’t wait to see the spectacle that he’s heard so much about. He says he’s seen the crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on television, but knows none of that will compare to his first experience in person.
“The atmosphere looks incredible,” he says. “You don’t get that atmosphere many places in the world, let alone the U.S. The atmosphere is definitely something I’m looking forward to experiencing for the first time. Walking out and seeing that will be a pretty special feeling.”