Long Island Rough Riders goalkeeper Dylan Castanheira has signed with Atlanta United 2, the club announced.
Castanheira is the sixth player from the 2018 squad to sign a professional contract, most recently following fellow goalie Danny Vitiello who joined Nashville SC (USL Championship) earlier this week. Atlanta United 2 is the USL Championship affiliate of 2018 Major League Soccer champions Atlanta United FC.
“I’m very excited to have signed my first professional contract with Atlanta,” Castanheira said. “Their recent success is no surprise as they are a club with a lot of ambition that is very well run. I’m very happy to be a part of the organization and I can’t wait to get started.”
The Columbia University senior impressed coaches at Atlanta United’s in-house combine in December and signed with the club prior to Christmas. Castanheira (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) was invited to the 2019 MLS Player Combine ahead of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 11, but removed his name from consideration from both after committing to Atlanta United 2.
“It’s great move for him,” Rough Riders head coach Stephen Roche said. “I can see him doing really well in the USL Championship and then hopefully getting an opportunity sooner rather than later with the MLS squad. I know he will prove to everyone down there with his work rate and talent just how good he is.”
Castanheira had been instrumental to Long Island’s success the past two seasons, boasting a 0.91 goals against average during the 2017 regular season as the Rough Riders (10-2-5) advanced to the PDL Eastern Conference Final. He made 42 saves and had a 1.09 GAA in 12 matches for Long Island (10-5-1) this past summer.
The 2018 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year and All-Ivy League first team selection broke the Ivy League record for career goals against average (0.513) while earning all-league honors three years during his time at Columbia.
He was touted as one of the top goalkeeper prospects ahead of the 2019 MLS SuperDraft.
“We have followed Dylan for a while now and are excited to sign him to a professional contract with our club,” said Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra. “He is one of the top goalkeeping prospects in the college game and we are happy to have him join Atlanta United.”
Castanheira joins a growing list of Rough Riders to take their game to the professional level recently: Danny Bedoya (New York City FC), Danny Vitiello (Nashville SC), Stefan Mueller (Southport FC), Matt Vasquenza (Alicante City), and Danny Elliott (CP San Cristobal).
“I’m incredibly proud of the work we are doing here,” Roche said. “Not only are we giving young college players the platform they need to be seen and improve over the summer, but we are providing second opportunities to players in their mid-20s who are good enough to play at the next level.”
BY: Michael LoRé