After four years playing soccer almost non-stop in England, Brendan Moore had a secret, but he felt comfortable telling only his parents.
He was coming home to Roswell to play for Atlanta United.
His parents, understandably, were thrilled.
The rest of his large family learned about this new addition to his LinkedIn profile through a news release from the team. He said he didn’t want to tell them in case the deal fell through.
“Everybody was pretty excited,” he said. The family celebrated with a dinner for 18 at a local restaurant.
If Moore, who was a standout at Centennial High before matriculating to the University of North Carolina, is as good at stopping shots as he is keeping secrets, Atlanta United may have found a hidden gem.
Moore thought that he would be in MLS soon after graduating from UNC. He was preparing to enter the MLS draft when he got a phone call about a trial at Oxford United in England. Moore’s mother is Swiss, so he has a Switzerland passport, which made the process of playing almost anywhere in Europe easier.
After appearing in a couple of Oxford’s reserves games, Moore said a few clubs in England asked him to come interview. He signed with Fleetwood Town in England’s League One. He moved from that club, located on England’s Northwest coast, to Rochdale, where he made 10 appearances. Between he made 58 appearances on loan from Fleetwood with Torquay United in England’s National League. In 76 appearances, he had 26 clean sheets.
Moore said while in England, where the soccer season extends over 11 months, he learned how to deal with the grind of being a professional. When he was able to come home, it was just for two weeks in the summer. But he said he became a better goalkeeper because he developed more of his skills, including the ability to play with the ball at his feet. Moore said he thinks that he also is good in the air and a good shot-stopper.
Atlanta United goalkeepers coach Aron Hyde reached out to Moore to gauge his interest in joining the MLS champs.
“My goal was to always come home,” Moore said. “I just didn’t know exactly when it would happen. I started to feel like this would be the best time.”
Moore said the process of agreeing to a contract didn’t last long and he had moved back to Atlanta by mid-January.
“Excited to be home and to be with such an incredible club with an incredible fan base,” he said.
Moore grew up immersed in the soccer scene in Atlanta. He started playing when he was 5 years old, following in the footsteps of an older brother and sister. He dropped baseball and other sports to focus exclusively on soccer when he was 12. He went to Silverbacks games when he was younger, before Atlanta United came into existence.
He grew up appreciating goalkeepers Oliver Kahn of Bayern Munich and Edwin Van der Sar of Ajax, Juventus, Fulham and Manchester United. As he grew up he focused on watching Hugo Lloris of Tottenham Hotspur; Manuel Neuer of Schalke and Bayern Munich; Tim Howard of Manchester United, Everton and now Colorado; and now-teammate Brad Guzan when he was with the U.S. national team. Guzan is Atlanta United’s starting goalkeeper.
“Being able to train with him is going to be great,” Moore said.
Moore said his expectations for the season are simple: learn as much as he can and hopefully get into the squad for a few games.
Because of the five-hour time difference between Atlanta and England, Moore said he didn’t get to watch too many of the Five Stripes games. He has yet to visit Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but said he is excited to do so.
And, he figures he is going to get plenty of ticket requests from family members.
The good thing is he doesn’t have to keep this a secret:
“Don’t know the deal with that yet,” he said. “They’ll have to wait. I’m sure those questions will come pretty quickly.”