Atlanta United’s George Bello became the first player from its academy to be sold with the team confirming his transfer to Arminia Bielefeld in Germany’s first division on Monday. The reported fee is $2 million with a sell-on percentage of 25.
Bello, a 20-year-old native of Douglasville, signed with Atlanta United as a Homegrown before the 2018 season after joining the team’s academy when it started in 2016.
Bello made 52 appearances, with three goals and four assists for the Five Stripes. He has represented the U.S. six times.
“Each player has a different path in their development, but George is a shining example of one of those pathways that our club can offer,” Atlanta United Vice President aCarlos Bocanegra said in a statement from the club. “He joined our original academy program in 2016 and soon signed as a Homegrown at just 15 years old. He then made his mark at USL level, went on to debut with our first team and ultimately played his way onto the U.S. men’s national team. For George, his desire was to move to Europe for an opportunity to continue his development and we wish him continued success with Bielefeld.”
Bielefeld is 14th in Bundesliga table.
The city of Bielefeld is in Northwest Germany between Dortmund and Hanover. The team’s stadium has a capacity of 27,300. The team is coached by Frank Kramer. Its next game is Feb. 5 against Monchengladbach.
The club was founded in 1905. It earned promotion to the first division in 2020-21 season.
The team currently has one left back, Jacob Laursen, and one left winger, Robin Hack, on its roster.
With the transfer, Atlanta United’s roster has 30 players, but Jurgen Damm and Erik Lopez are being loaned, which would reduce the roster to 28, two below the MLS ceiling of 30. Club President Darren Eales told a local radio partner on Sunday that the club is looking to add two players. One is presumably Thiago Almada, whom the club holds his MLS rights.
Bello’s sale opens the starting slot for a competition between Andrew Gutman and Caleb Wiley, who signed a Homegrown contract two weeks ago. Gutman is the presumed starter.
Based upon last year’s rules, Atlanta United can take $1,050,000 of the sale of Bello and use it as General Allocation Money. The remaining balance of the club’s share (if any), which cannot be traded, will be distributed by MLS to the club as cash. GAM can be used to reduce the amount that a non-Designated Player costs against the salary cap and to sign players new to MLS, among other uses.
Bello becomes the second player sold by the club to another in Europe. Miguel Almiron was the first, to Newcastle before the 2019 MLS season.
There were several clubs interested in Bello, including two Belgium clubs, reportedly.
Atlanta United’s roster
Goalkeepers (4): Dylan Castanheira, Justin Garces, Brad Guzan and Bobby Shuttleworth.
Defenders (11): Mikey Ambrose, George Campbell, Alex De John, Alan Franco, Andrew Gutman, Ronald Hernández, Brooks Lennon, Efrain Morales, Miles Robinson, Bryce Washington and Caleb Wiley.
Midfielders (10): Osvaldo Alonso, Ezequiel Barco*, Jürgen Damm, Emerson Hyndman, Franco Ibarra, Marcelino Moreno, Jake Mulraney, Matheus Rossetto, Amar Sejdic, Santiago Soss and Tyler Wolff.
Forwards (5): Luiz Araújo, Machop Chol, Jackson Conway, Erik López and Josef Martínez.
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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule
Feb. 27 vs. Sporting KC, 3 p.m., FS1
March 5 at Colorado, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
March 13 vs. Charlotte, 4:30 p.m., FS1
March 19 vs. Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
April 2 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
April 9 at Charlotte, 3 p.m., ESPN
April 16 vs. Cincinnati, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
April 24 at Miami, 1 p.m., ESPN
April 30 at Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
May 7 vs. Chicago, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
May 15 vs. New England, 2 p.m., ESPN
May 21 at Nashville, 7:30 p.m. FOX
May 28 vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
June 19 vs Miami, 4 p.m., ESPN2
June 25 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
June 30 at New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 3 at NYCFC, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 9 vs. Austin, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 13 vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 17 vs. Orlando, 3 p.m., ABC
July 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 9:30 p.m., FS1
July 30 at Chicago, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
August 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC
August 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE
August 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
August 21 at Columbus, 6 p.m., FS1
August 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV
August 31 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 4 at Portland, 5:30 p.m., FOX
Sept. 10 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Sept. 14 at Orlando, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Sept 17 vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m., UniMas
Oct. 1 at New England, 1 p.m., UniMas
Oct. 9 vs. NYCFC, TBD, BSSO/BSSE
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