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ATLANTA, GEORGIA—Atlanta United, on April 18, has decided to recall goalkeeper Justin Garces from Atlanta United 2 roster due to Extreme Hardship. Based on MLS rules, a loaned player may be recalled to his MLS club for a short-term loan agreement in the case of Extreme Hardship. Extreme Hardship exists when an MLS club has either: 1) fewer than 16 outfield players available; or 2) fewer than two goalkeepers available. An individual player may be included on up to four MLS league season match rosters.

However, that player may appear in two MLS league season matches. An individual player may appear in any number of non-league games during his four short-term agreements. United FC earlier signed Garces as a Homegrown Player for the 2022 season with options through 2024. Garces, a promising goalkeeper, returns to United FC after starring at UCLA over the last four seasons.

The goalkeeper played for the Academy’s U-19 team in 2017-18. Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra are very excited about the signing of Garcs since he is a massive lift in the goalie’s position for the team.
“Justin is someone we are very excited about bringing back to the club,” Bocanegra said. “We saw the raw talent when he came through our Academy and made some appearances at the USL level. He has really progressed over the last four years after playing at a top program like UCLA. He has a great frame and is comfortable with the ball at his feet. We are excited to see him continue his development with our club,” Bocanegra added.

Garces, 21, spent the past four seasons with the UCLA Bruins, where he played in 57 games. He recorded 21 victories and registered seven clean sheets in his career. Garces appeared and started in a team-high 14 matches his freshman season. His first career NCAA clean sheet came on September 8 in a 1-0 win at eventual NCAA Champion Maryland. In 2019, Garces started 17 of 18 matches for the Bruins. He made 58 saves and finished with a 63.0 save percentage that season.

In 2020, Garces made 11 starts before closing out his collegiate career with 14 starts in 2021. He recorded a career-best 1.16 GAA this past season while also finishing with a career-high 70.6 save percentage. He tied his single-season best with seven victories in 2021 as UCLA advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Garces earned 2021 Pac-12 All-Conference Second Team honors. Garces is the third goalkeeper under contract for United FC, alongside Dylan Castanheira and veteran Brad Guzan.