Efrain Morales joining Atlanta United as a Homegrown Player
16-year old Efrain Morales will join Atlanta United as a MLS Homegrown Player on January 1, 2021. The young defender has been part of Atlanta's academy from the first class, progressing to the point that he has earned U.S. Youth National Team call-ups through the U17 level and a trial earlier this year with Manchester United.
Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said:
“We’re pleased to announce Efrain as our latest product to sign out of our Academy. Efrain has been with us since we started the program in 2016, and credit goes to the hard work of our entire Academy staff as Efrain has developed consistently, but still shows a lot of potential. He’s a local kid who joined our academy at a young age, so he thoroughly understands the Atlanta United philosophy and has a strong understanding of how we want to play. We’re eager to see his continued development.”
At 6'3", Morales is projected to become a center back but has shown the ability to play as an outside back or defensive midfielder as well.
Academy Director Tony Annan went with Morales to Manchester during his trial earlier this year and told the Manchester Evening News:
"He's a very laid back kid, so he takes everything in his stride. He doesn't get carried away, he is a very even keel kid. When I told him he was excited, why would you not be? But, he got over it and was ready to go over straight away. He went in there confidently."