Images from the match between Atlanta United 2 and Birmingham Legion FC at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia on Wednesday, September 04, 2019. (Photo by Karl Moore/Atlanta United)
Photo: Karl L. Moore/Karl Moore/Atlanta United
Photo: Karl L. Moore/Karl Moore/Atlanta United

Luiz Fernando happy to sign with Atlanta United

Luiz Fernando is happy to be a first-team player with Atlanta United.

In his first interview since his contract was announced Aug. 21, Fernando, 22, said “I’m really happy” at least three times Wednesday. 

“I’m really working hard,” he said. “I’m going to do my best to try to help this club. Every day I’m coming to come here and do my best and play for the first team.”

Fernando joined Atlanta United 2 in November last year after spending the three previous seasons with Richmond. With Atlanta United 2 in the USL, Fernando scored one goal in his first 21 appearances.

"He’s a promising player for the future,” Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer said Aug. 24. “He can train with us. He will play a lot of games in the USL. If we need him, he has the quality to step in." 

Fernando said he celebrated the contract with a dinner with his girlfriend. He also said his parents in his native Brazil were very happy for him.

Fernando is working mostly as a left wingback with Atlanta United. 

“I’m playing different positions,” he said. “I’ve got to get used. That’s it. If you are working hard, doing everything and never giving up you will have a chance for sure.” 

Teammate Jeff Larentowicz said Fernando reminds him of a left-footed Justin Meram.

“He’s good on the ball,” Larentowicz said. “He’s left-footed, which is always something that’s hard to find, but he’s still young, he’s still learning. Hopefully he’s building toward the future.”

Fernando said playing for Corinthians as a youth taught him how to defend to help the team.  He’s picking up pointers from teammates on the finer points of the position, such as how to free himself to receive the ball and positioning.

Julian Gressel, who sits next to Fernando in the locker room, said his tips during training include the things that would make his life more difficult playing against him. 

“Very promising,” Gressel said. “That’s what he club saw in him and what we see in him.”

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