March 10, 2019 Atlanta: Atlanta United midfielder Andrew Carleton works against FC Cincinnati in their MLS soccer match on Sunday, March 10, 2019, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

Atlanta United manager has more harsh words for Andrew Carleton

For the second time this season, Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer admonished Andrew Carleton for his lack of professionalism.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game against Montreal, de Boer said that Carleton, who forgot to bring his passport when the team left for Wednesday’s game at Toronto, needs to  understand that his behavior isn’t acceptable. 

“Those kinds of things you have influence on and he doesn’t understand right now that’s something he has to learn and take the responsibility,” de Boer said. “Sometimes you have to learn it the hard way.”

De Boer said that until Carleton “shows forgiveness and that he’s improving” he will play with Atlanta United 2. Carleton, a 19-year-old native of Powder Springs, did travel with Atlanta United 2 for Thursday night’s game at Loudon.

De Boer said he doesn’t predict that Carleton will stay with Atlanta United 2 for the remainder of the season because there will be MLS games in which he is needed.

Carleton was the team’s first Homegrown Signing. Atlanta United beat out a few clubs in Europe to sign a player who was then considered a future U.S. men’s national team cornerstone at midfield after stellar performances with the youth national teams.

However, Carleton’s career in MLS has yet to take off. He has just two starts as part of 11 appearances in two-plus seasons. Atlanta United has continued to sign midfielders who have earned starts ahead of Carleton, including Ezequiel Barco and Dion Pereira.

Atlanta United captain Michael Parkhurst said he and other veterans on the team have had several conversations with Carleton and the team’s  other younger players about professionalism.

“We all want the best for Andy,” Parkhurst said. “Hopefully he plays for another 15-20 years, but the reality is some guys don’t. They don’t get out of it. Hopefully, lessons are learned along the way. Among that first group of Homegrowns, we need guys to understand the reality and step up and take advantage of opportunities.”

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