It’s all happening in Atlanta.
Atlanta United FC made Alexander Tambakis the first player in club history on Monday, when the club announced that they’ve signed the 23-year-old Greek-American goalkeeper to an MLS contract.
The 6-foot-2 ‘keeper joins Atlanta from Panathinaikos, one of the biggest clubs in Greece. He’ll spend the 2016 season on loan to Atlanta’s USL affiliate, the Charleston Battery, before joining United for their inaugural MLS campaign in 2017.
Per league and club policy, further terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Alex is a promising young player with solid tools and a big upside,” Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement released by the club. “He’s already had big game experience in Greece which is an advantage for a 23-year-old goalkeeper. We’re looking forward to his continued development at the Battery.”
Tambakis signed with Panathinaikos in 2011, but made just one first-team appearance for the club. He made four appearances while on loan with fellow Greek Superleague club Niki Volos in 2014 before going on another loan to Dutch club VVV Venlo last February.
Given his lack of experience, it’s fair to assume Tambakis won’t play a huge role with Atlanta next year. AUFC will undoubtedly sign a more seasoned goalkeeper to shepherd them through their first campaign, but Monday’s announcement seems like a solid first step.
Tambakis is young, and, by all accounts, promising. He’s not a huge name (Atlanta will need to announce a head coach before bringing in any big-time players), but he’ll have time to learn at Charleston before making the move to Atlanta in 2017. Plus, as a Greek-American dual national, he won’t occupy an international spot. That’s big when you’re entering MLS – just ask Orlando City.
Monday’s announcement won’t blow anyone away, but it is a no-risk move – and yet another solid step in Atlanta’s steady progression toward MLS.
“This is an exciting day for our club as we officially begin building our roster,” said AUFC president Darren Eales. “Every spot on the roster is important as we seek to find a competitive edge. Our approach will be to find quality players that contribute to the squad at every level.”