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Damm impressed by Atlanta United’s facilities, stadium and supporters

Mexico's Jurgen Damm controls the ball during a 2018 Russia World Cup qualifying soccer match against Costa Rica Friday, March 24, 2017, at Azteca stadium in Mexico City.
Mexico's Jurgen Damm controls the ball during a 2018 Russia World Cup qualifying soccer match against Costa Rica Friday, March 24, 2017, at Azteca stadium in Mexico City.

Credit: Eduardo Verdugo

Credit: Eduardo Verdugo

Jurgen Damm, signed earlier this week by Atlanta United, said on Friday that he joined the the club because of its facilities, stadium, supporters and the belief that with consistent minutes may come another opportunity to play for the Mexican national team.

Speaking to journalists in his first interview since the signing was announced on Wednesday, Damm said he felt the time was right to leave Mexican power Tigres after five seasons and several titles and get out of his comfort zone.

“I want to give fans trophies and very good performances,” he said.

Leaning against a tan leather headboard, wearing a blue T-shirt and mixing fluent English and Spanish during Friday’s interview, Damm said the recruitment to join MLS began 4-5 months ago. When Damm’s agent told him that he could be joining Atlanta United, he said yes. He said he watched the team play against Club America in the Campeones Cup.

Damm said he also spoke to “El Tri” teammate Andres Guardado about the city of Atlanta and the league. He said he believes that is on par with LIGA MX. He noted that the combination of more teams investing in facilities and the standard and cost of living in the U.S. is making MLS more attractive to players around the world.

Damm, 27, is the first player from Mexico to sign with Atlanta United, which he said is an honor. He will not join Atlanta United until August. He said when he arrives will depend upon when his visa application is approved.

However, he spoke with Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer on Thursday and expected on Friday to receive a training plan so that he can begin to prepare physically.

“I’m training as best I can so when I arrive I can be the same level as my teammates,” he said.

De Boer said he likes Damm’s versatility. He noted that the speedy winger can play as an attacking winger on the right or the left, or as an attacking midfielder.

Damm said he prefers to play in the 4-3-3, but can also play in a 3-5-2. Those two formations are what de Boer has primarily used.

It seems that Damm is hoping to earn consistent minutes. He referenced it a few times during his interview. He said Gerardo Martino, who led Atlanta United to the MLS Cup in 2018 before being named Mexico’s manager, values consistent playing time at clubs.

Damm was no longer receiving consistent playing while at Tigres, which has one of the strongest lineups of any club in North America. Some of that may have been because of criticisms that Damm doesn’t always make good decisions in the final third. Some of that may have been the quality of Tigres’ roster. Some may have been because the club knew months ago that Damm wasn’t going to re-sign. Atlanta United acquired him as a free agent.

He said it can be difficult to play as well as is wanted when a player isn’t being used consistently. He left Tigres with 13 goals and 23 assists in 172 appearances across all competitions.

To deal with some of the criticisms, which he said comes with being a public figure, Damm turned to social media, where his TikTok videos are quite entertaining.

“I work very hard every day to improve as a player,” he said. “In my videos I try to show that I’m a person off the field, a fun person. I try to take that criticism in the best way to show that it’s not going to affect me and have fun with it.”