Bello, a 19-year-old left back from Douglasville, Ga., signed as a Homegrown Player with Atlanta United on June 17, 2017 with the deal becoming effective Jan. 1, 2018. He started the 2018 season with Atlanta United 2 and was brought up to the first team later in the campaign and made his MLS debut on Sept. 2, 2018 vs. D.C. United. He earned his first start Sept. 22, 2018 against Real Salt Lake and scored his first career goal against the New England Revolution on Oct. 6, 2018, becoming the sixth-youngest goal scorer in league history.
Bello had a breakout season in 2020, starting a career-high 19 of his 20 MLS appearances at left back, logging 1,648 minutes. He scored one goal and added one assist, and was the second-youngest player to play at least 1,000 MLS minutes in 2020.
In 2021, Bello set career highs in appearances (29), starts (26), minutes (2,433) and assists (three) while becoming the first Atlanta United Academy player to make an MLS All-Star Team.
Born in Abuja, Nigeria, Bello moved to Douglasville, Ga., at a young age and joined the Atlanta United Academy in 2016. Bello has spent his entire playing career on the U.S. Youth National circuit and made his senior team debut with the USMNT in a friendly vs. Trinidad and Tobago on Jan. 31, 2021. Most recently, Bello started two matches during the USMNT’s run to the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup title, including the 1-0 victory against Mexico in the final.
2021 (Atlanta United): Started 31 of his 34 appearances across all competitions. Bello set career highs in MLS appearances (29), starts (26), minutes (2,433) and assists (three) while becoming the first Atlanta United Academy player to make an MLS All-Star Team. Added one goal in MLS play. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started Atlanta’s first round match against New York City. CONCACAF Champions League: Started all four of Atlanta’s matches against Alajuelense and Philadelphia Union.
2020 (Atlanta United): Posted career-highs in starts (19), appearances (20) and minutes (1,648) in league play and recorded one goal and one assist. Scored against Nashville SC on Sept. 12. Recorded an assist against Inter Miami CF on Sept. 19. Bello was the second-youngest player to play at least 1,000 MLS minutes in 2020. Recorded a team-high 32 tackles won and finished ranked seventh in MLS in tackle success rate (64%, min. 50 tackles). CONCACAF Champions League: Started and played 90 minutes in Atlanta’s second leg 1-0 win against Club América in the quarterfinals and assisted on Jackson Conway’s game-winning goal.
2019 (Atlanta United): Did not feature in any MLS matches due to injury and a call-up to the US U-17 World Cup squad. During the World Cup in Brazil, Bello made two starts and played the full 90 minutes in both matches for the US. US Open Cup: Did not feature during this season’s Open Cup. CONCACAF Champions League: Started the first game of the Concacaf Champions League, a 3-1 defeat at CS Herediano of Costa Rica. It was his lone appearance with Atlanta United in 2019. USL: Finished the season with 12 appearances for ATL UTD 2. Eleven of those 12 appearances were starts and the defender played a total of 886 minutes. He scored in a 5-2 victory against Bethlehem Steel on Oct. 9. Posted 10 shots with three of them on target.
2018 (Atlanta United): Made three appearances and two starts. He made his MLS debut on Sept. 3 in a road match at D.C. United as a second-half substitute and then earned his first career MLS start later that month in a 2-0 win against Real Salt Lake (9/22). He became the sixth-youngest player to score a goal in MLS history when he fired a left-footed shot past the New England Revolution on Oct. 6. Finished the regular season with 177 minutes played. US Open Cup: Did not feature. USL: Played 415 minutes for Atlanta United 2 during the team’s inaugural season. He made six appearances, all starts, and tallied one shot.
2017/18 (Atlanta United Academy): Bello has played eight matches for the U-18s and scored two goals. He also made one appearance for the U16s and scored a goal.
2016/17 (Atlanta United Academy): Bello 26 matches for the U-15s and scored two goals. He was named the 2016-17 East Conference U15/16 Player of the Year.
INTERNATIONAL: Bello has either played or been called into camps for the U.S. Youth National Team at the U-15, U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-23 levels. He made nine appearances at the U-15 level and was a part of the U.S. squad that won the prestigious Torneo Delle Nazioni. The U.S. won all four matches he started, including the championship against England. Bello made 11 appearances at the U-17 level and was part of the U.S. squad at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup where he made two starts in Brazil. Most recently, in January 2021 Bello was called into the final U-23 USMNT camp before Olympic Qualifying.