ATLANTA, GEORGIA—Looks like the Atlanta United FC is focused on defense in the 2022 Major League Soccer season.
On Tuesday, United FC announced that they have signed Justin 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 huge 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 he had 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 Sept. 8 in a 1-0 win at eventual NCAA Champion Maryland. In 2019, Garces started 17 of 18 matches for the Bruins. He made a total of 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. This past season he recorded a career-best 1.16 GAA, 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.
At the moment, United FC is gearing up for another solid performance in the MLS 2022 season.
For its opening salvo in the MLS 2022 season, the United FC will host the dangerous Sporting Kansas City on February 27, 2022, at 3 p.m. (ET) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The match will be broadcast nationally and will be the first time Atlanta and Sporting KC face each other in a season opener.
It was also announced that Atlanta will face Colorado Rapids on Saturday, March 5 at 6 p.m. (ET) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the reigning-Western Conference regular-season champions’ home opener. TV information for all matches will be announced at a later date, along with the remainder of the club’s MLS schedule.
The 2022 MLS season will feature 28 clubs, 14 in each conference, with clubs playing each team in its conference twice and eight teams from the other conference once for a total of 34 matches. After today’s announcement, Atlanta has six remaining matches against Western Conference opponents to be announced.

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