For the first time in Atlanta United’s history, and alumni of the academy entered the MLS Superdraft. 21-year old Kareve Richards has announced his departure from the Mercer Bears to the MLS Superdraft. Richards, who would have played in his senior season for the Bears, decided to take the next step in his career. With the impact he had during his time with the Bears, the decision makes a lot of sense.
Since his arrival with the Mercer Bears, Richards has been a crucial piece to the team. He started nearly every game since his freshman season in 2017. Richards possessed incredible potential and a rare talent. His defensive strengths and skills were unmatched and were phenomenal for his age. As a freshman, he played 22 games and because of his contributions, his team only conceded an average of 1.09 goals per game with four clean sheets the entire season.
In his sophomore year, he was again a crucial piece to the Mercer squad. He played in 18 games, but more remarkably, he played in all 1,672 minutes of Mercer’s season. His presence in the team’s defense again propelled the squad to only conceding an average of 1.11 goals per game, which is a terrific defensive statistic. Richards didn’t stop there. In his junior year, he registered a team-high 1,941 minutes while starting all 21 games for the team. He recorded three assists while playing a full 90 minutes versus UNC Greensboro in the SoCon Championship. For all of his contributions, phenomenal performances, and incredible consistency, Richards was awarded a place in the All-Southern Conference First Team in 2018 and All-Southern Conference All-Freshman Team.
Richards is now the only player on a list of 180 talented players that graduated from the Atlanta United academy to enter the MLS Superdraft – and it comes as no surprise. Richards showed incredible potential even at a young age and his college years helped him grow his game and maximize that potential. Clubs are always on the search for defensive stability. Richards’ experience and natural talent should be more than enough to secure him a spot in an MLS club. As fans of the Five Stripes, it’s great to see one of the players from our academy achieve great things. Hopefully, many Five Stripes’ academy alumni can follow in his footsteps.