Atlanta United selected defender Patrick Nielsen out of Michigan State University with the No. 23 overall pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft.
“Patrick is a player that our scouting department identified early and we are pleased to welcome him to the club,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “He is a leader in the back with a great mentality. We were able to see him at our college showcase and expect him to be a good fit in our club environment.”
Nielsen, 23, is a center back from Michigan State where he played for the last two seasons. The Copenhagen, Denmark native totaled 33 appearances with three goals and three assists while being named to the First Team All-Big Ten in 2018 and the Second Team in 2019. Nielsen started all 23 games for the Spartans in 2018 and anchored a backline that allowed just 22 goals in 23 games. The defender helped lead the team to the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament in 2018 after he assisted the game-winning goal against James Madison in the Elite Eight and scored against Akron in the Semifinals. Nielsen transferred to Michigan State after attending Cincinnati in 2016 where he played 17 matches and recorded two assists.
Name: Patrick Nielsen
Birthdate: Sept. 18, 1996 (age: 23)
Birthplace: Copenhagen, Denmark
Transaction: Atlanta United selects Patrick Nielsen with No. 23 overall pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft
2020 Atlanta United roster (as of Jan. 9, 2020)
Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan, Alec Kann, Brendan Moore
Defenders (9): George Bello, George Campbell, Franco Escobar, Jon Gallagher*, Brooks Lennon, Patrick Nielsen**, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Miles Robinson, Anton Walkes
Midfielders (8): Mo Adams, Ezequiel Barco, Andrew Carleton, Luiz Fernando, Julian Gressel, Emerson Hyndman, Jeff Larentowicz, Eric Remedi
Forwards (4): Lagos Kunga, Josef Martinez, Pity Martinez, Tito Villalba
* - on loan with Aberdeen
**- un-signed SuperDraft pick