Atlanta United land first major signing ahead of 2017 MLS debut

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With less than eight months until their Major League Soccer debut in March 2017, Atlanta United’s roster is slowly but surely taking shape.

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Earlier this month, technical director Carlos Bocanegra announced the capture of Irish midfielder Chris McCann from Wigan, bringing the team’s roster up to five players. There are also constant rumors of Andres Guardado and Carlos Vela, the big fish. On Friday, the first major signing of Atlanta’s MLS preparations was made official: Trinidad and Tobago international and Premier League veteran Kenwyne Jones (40 goals in seven seasons in England’s top division).

Jones, who’ll turn 32 in October, will spend the remainder of 2016 on loan with Trinidadian side Central FC, whom he’ll represent in the group stage of this year’s CONCACAF Champions League, against MLS sides Sporting Kansas City and the Vancouver Whitecaps. The details of Jones’ contract were not announced, but he has likely signed a Designated Player contract which will then be “paid down” with targeted allocation money, leaving three open DP slots ahead of the team’s debut next year.

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Atlanta also announced this week the first kit sponsorship in franchise history, a multi-year partnership with American Family Insurance.