Atlanta United’s Noah Cobb has high expectations

Atlanta United 2 defender Noah Cobb #39 dribbles during the USL match against the Charleston Battery at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday March 27, 2022. (Photo by Mitch Martin/Atlanta United)

Credit: Mitch Martin/Atlanta United

Credit: Mitch Martin/Atlanta United

Atlanta United 2 defender Noah Cobb #39 dribbles during the USL match against the Charleston Battery at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday March 27, 2022. (Photo by Mitch Martin/Atlanta United)

Though 17 years old, Atlanta United centerback Noah Cobb has a mature approach to the upcoming Major League Soccer season - his first as a professional.

“I’m just playing soccer like I did when I was little,” he said. “Honestly, against bigger, better, faster, stronger, guys. But I mean, at the end of the day, it’s still the same game that I played when I was 12. So I just treat it like that: I just come here, have fun every day.”

Cobb’s Homegrown contract, announced last year, went into effect Jan. 1. He came up through Atlanta United’s Academy, starting with the Under-12s in 2018, and signed with Atlanta United 2 last season. He made 26 appearances. He said the extended playing time, and working with several academy players, helped his leadership skills.

Cobb isn’t new to the first team. He spent a lot of time training with them last year, including signing a short-term agreement to join the club last April when injuries began to decimate the roster.

Cobb played well in Saturday’s scrimmage at Chattanooga. He came on with the second 11 for the second half of the friendly, snuffed out a few counter-attacks with well-time tackles, runs or movements, and was complimented after the game by manager Gonzalo Pineda.

“We know he’s a fantastic defender, and one on one is is difficult for any player to go by him,” Pineda said. “He needs to do better in the build up. That’s probably the next step ... but he’s very talented centerback that we have a lot of hopes for him.”

Cobb may not get much playing time this season. Ahead of him are veterans Miles Robinson and JuanJo Purata. The team is also reportedly pursuing Luis Abram. Cobb said they, and retired captain Michael Parkhurst, talk to him at team meals and during training about staying grounded. One of the keys, he said, is to make sure his first actions on the field are positive.

“I have high expectations for myself,” he said. “I think I’m just coming here working hard every day trying to learn from Miles and JuanJo. Because I think that’s going to be the best way for me to get on the field.”

Cobb isn’t the only one with high expectations.

Vice President Carlos Bocanegra, a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, said last year that he thinks Cobb has the potential to play for the U.S. men’s national team. Cobb said that prediction doesn’t add any pressure.

“I take it as a positive coming from someone like him because he’s, you know, been been on the big stage before,” he said.


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Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule

Feb. 25 vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m.

March 4 vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.

March 11 at Charlotte FC, noon, Fox

March 18 vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m.

March 25 at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

April 1 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

April 8 at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

April 15 at Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.

April 23 vs. Chicago Fire FC, 4:30 p.m., FS1

April 29 at Nashville SC, 1:30 p.m., Fox

May 6 at Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.

May 13 vs. Charlotte FC, 7:30 p.m.

May 17 vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m.

May 20 at Chicago Fire FC, 8:30 p.m.

May 27 at Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.

May 31 vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m., FS1

June 3 at Los Angeles FC, 10:30 p.m.

June 10 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

June 21 vs. New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

June 24 at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

July 2 vs. Philadelphia Union, 4 p.m., Fox

July 8 at CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

July 12 at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.

July 15 vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m., FS1

Aug. 20 at Seattle Sounders, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 26 vs. Nashville SC, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 30 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 2 at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Sept. 16 vs. Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 20 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 7 vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 21 at FC Cincinnati, TBA