MLS expansion team Atlanta United FC has made Greek-American goalkeeper Alexander Tambakis the club's first signing.
AUFC, which won't enter the league until 2017, announced the signing on Monday, adding that Tambakis would spend the 2016 season on loan at the USL's Charleston Battery. The third-tier club entered into an affiliation partnership with Atlanta last week.
Tambakis, 23, joins Atlanta from Panathinaikos in Greece. The 6'2" backstop has spent time on loan at third-tier Greek club Niki Volos after rising to Panathinaikos's first team in 2011, according to Atlanta's announcement.
“Alex is a promising young player with solid tools and a big upside,” Atlanta United FC technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement. “He’s already had big game experience in Greece, which is an advantage for a 23-year-old goalkeeper. We’re looking forward to his continued development at the Battery.”
Atlanta United FC will continue to build its roster as the countdown to 2017 begins. The club's stadium, which it will share with the Atlanta Falcons, is not slated to open until June 2017 instead of March 2017 as was originally planned, meaning the club will either have to play on the road or have a temporary solution until Mercedes-Benz Stadium is complete.
“This is an exciting day for our club as we officially begin building our roster,” Atlanta United FC president Darren Eales said in a statement. “Every spot on the roster is important as we seek to find a competitive edge. Our approach will be to find quality players that contribute to the squad at every level.”