Carleton developing exponentially with nearly two professional years under his belt


In June of 2016 Andrew Carleton inked his Homegrown contract with Atlanta United at just 15 years of age. Now, with nearly two years spent in the professional ranks, he’s maturing exponentially both on and off the pitch.

“Being around guys like Parky [Michael Parkhurst], [Jeff] Larentowicz, Leandro [Pirez], guys like that who have been there and done that. Just picking up little things they do to take care of their body. On the field, just little things. Talking more, helping other guys out that will help you out as well, if they’re in the right spot, you may not have to run as much to cover up for that. Or whatever the situation is, combining with guys and building some chemistry with the guys on the team. That’s probably the main thing I took from my first year.”

As Carleton learns from the vets, he’s also looking to pass on that knowledge to whomever he can. He may only be 17 years old, but the boy from Powder Springs, Georgia is no longer the youngest player on the ATL UTD squad.

“I’m no veteran, but I’ve been around for a year or two between Atlanta and the Charleston Battery, so I’ve picked up a few things. Anything I can do to help the other guys is great because when I was in that spot, I would look to guys to kind of help me through it and give me pointers here or there. So, any little thing that I can learn to pass on to younger guys like George Bello, who just turned 16, is something I really look forward to passing on.”

“When I was 15 or 16 I was more individual, not selfish, but my strength was taking people on…So I think as I grow up, the maturity to be able to combine with people to get past defenders, then whenever the situation is right in the final third, that’s when you take more touches to take people on. I think that’s probably one of my bigger strengths. Then my ability to play multiple positions helps as well. I used to just play winger mostly, but now to be able to play more as a ten or a false nine like in the World Cup or wherever needed, I think that helps as well.”

Since inking his first contract, Carleton has evolved into a more versatile player, training day in and day out in a professional environment against elite competition. He says it’s certainly helped him elevate his game on both sides of the ball.

“When you’re going against guys like Almirón every day, it definitely helps your defense. I think a lot of it is getting used to playing the position and making sure you’re in the right spot in the right situation. Individual defending you kind of do all over the field all the time, but being able to put yourself in the right spot is the first step.”