Ronald Hernandez on ball for Aberdeen vs. Rangers


Atlanta United have signed Venezuela national team defender Ronald Hernandez on loan from Scotland’s Aberdeen FC for the 2021 season, the club announced Thursday.

Hernandez, 23, has made 17 appearances for Venezuela and logged six appearances in the Scottish Premiership since joining Aberdeen in January 2020 from Norwegian club Stabæk. Atlanta United and Aberdeen previously entered into a strategic partnership ahead of the 2020 season.

“Ronald is a young, talented defender and we’re pleased to add him to our roster,” vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a release. “Like many international players, he had to endure difficult circumstances over the last year and we’re eager to give him an opportunity to compete in a new environment.”

Primarily a right back, Hernandez joins after the Five Stripes sent Franco Escobar on loan to Argentine side Newell’s Old Boys for the 2021 season. While playing time was hard to come by at Aberdeen, he could have a better situation at his new club.

“From a personal point of view, Ronald has been a great player to work with, but we must acknowledge he made several personal sacrifices while in Scotland, not least having to spend lockdown in Aberdeen on his own,” Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes said in a release. “Because of visa restrictions due to the pandemic, he had not seen his wife or young daughter in almost a year until he was given compassionate leave in December, and the lasting impact of that should not be underestimated.”

While at Stabæk, Hernandez made 61 appearances across all competitions in three seasons. He began his professional career at Venezuelan Primera Division side Zamora FC, where he played from 2015-17.

Atlanta United are entering their first season under Argentine manager Gabriel Heinze. They’re looking to return to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, missing out last year after previously winning MLS Cup in 2018.