Atlanta United announced today it has signed Atlanta United 2 midfielder Ajani Fortune to a Homegrown contract through the 2024 season with multiple additional option years, effective Jan. 1, 2023. Fortune, who made his debut with the Trinidad and Tobago national team in 2021, joined the Atlanta United Academy in 2018 and has played 48 matches with ATL UTD 2.“We’re excited to sign Ajani as a Homegrown Player after following his development with our Academy and ATL UTD 2,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “Ajani’s progression to the First Team is a credit to him and the excellent work being done by Matt Lawrey and our developmental pathway. He’s a talented midfielder who reads the game very well and has a great work rate. We look forward to him taking the next step of his career.”
Fortune, 19, has become a staple of Jack Collison’s ATL UTD 2 setup in midfield since signing from the Atlanta United Academy in August 2021. The Raleigh, North Carolina native has made 14 appearances, 10 of them starts, logging 971 minutes in the 2022 USL Championship campaign, including captaining the side in its last match against San Antonio FC on July 16. In his three seasons in the USL Championship, Fortune has made 48 appearances, 31 starts and has scored three goals.“I’m really pleased for Ajani because I’ve seen first-hand how hard he’s worked for this opportunity,” Atlanta United 2 head coach Jack Collison said. “He brings such energy to his role in the midfield and he’s always taken the chances he’s been given to take the next step in his development, going back to his days in the Academy. He’s earned that next step and I’m ecstatic that it’s here with the club.”
Joining the Academy before the 2018-19 season, Fortune worked his way through the ranks in the U-17 and U-19 squads before making his professional debut with ATL UTD 2 against Charleston Battery on July 11, 2020.“We are so proud of Ajani and his accomplishments here at Atlanta United,” Atlanta United Academy director Matt Lawrey said. “He exemplifies the humble work rate we always talk about here in the Academy. His technique, calmness on the ball, and ability to solve any situation with his talents and his brain, define him as a player. But his humility, willingness to work hard for his coaches and teammates, and love of the game define him as a person. We are so excited for him to take his next step in his career.”
The midfielder earned his first international call-up for the Trinidad and Tobago national football team on Jan. 31, 2021, making his debut against the United States in a friendly the next day; he has made two career appearances for his country.
Atlanta United (6-8-6, 24 points) travels to Los Angeles to face LA Galaxy on Sunday, July 24 (9:30 p.m. EST, FS1/FOX Deportes, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game, La Mejor).
TRANSACTION: Atlanta United signs Ajani Fortune as a Homegrown Player on July 21, 2022, effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Name: Ajani Fortune
Birthdate: December 30, 2002 (19)
Birthplace: Raleigh, N.C.
Citizenship: Trinidad and Tobago, United States