According to information obtained from multiple ESPN sources, Atlanta United is on the verge of signing a contract with American goalkeeper Josh Cohen. Cohen's journey, intertwined with achievements and controversies, reveals interesting nuances about the complexities of the soccer world.
A native of California, Cohen recently gained prominence playing for Maccabi Haifa in the Israeli Premier League, winning the Player of the Season title in the 2020-21 campaign and playing a crucial role in the team's journey through the UEFA Champions League. However, since his departure from Maccabi last summer, the goalkeeper has been without a club, awaiting the outcome of negotiations that now seem to be materializing with Atlanta United.
ESPN reports that in June of last year, Cohen was called up to the training camp of the United States men's national team in preparation for the Concacaf Nations League Final Four. However, surprisingly, his name did not appear on the final roster for the competition. This episode already indicated that Cohen's path to contractual stability was far from linear.
Complications in Cohen's negotiation with Atlanta United were publicly exposed in September when The Athletic reported that a representative of the player had filed a complaint alleging MLS rule violations by the club. According to the complaint, Atlanta United had offered Cohen a contract significantly below his market value. This initial offer had triggered a deadlock in negotiations, with an apparent lack of plans to continue talks.
The twist in the narrative remains unclear. ESPN, in reporting the developments, does not provide details on when the atmosphere between the parties changed, and negotiations were resumed. Uncertainty loomed over Cohen's fate, but it seems that a light has been shed, allowing a positive outcome for both parties involved.
Brad Guzan, the 39-year-old starting goalkeeper for Atlanta United, adds an element of intrigue to the story. The veteran, under contract until 2024, faced significant physical challenges in recent seasons, including an Achilles tendon rupture in 2022 and a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury that kept him sidelined for several weeks this season. Guzan, who has not publicly confirmed his return for an eighth year with the club, keeps fans in suspense.
Cohen's experience in the American soccer scene is extensive and diverse. Before shining at Maccabi Haifa, the goalkeeper went through college soccer, representing UC San Diego. His journey also included stints with the Burlingame Dragons in the USL Premier Development League, as well as contributions to teams like Orange County Blues (currently Orange County SC), Phoenix Rising, and Sacramento Republic in the USL Championship.
Cohen's saga highlights the challenges faced by players seeking a place in the sun in international markets, a reality often marked by complex and occasionally controversial negotiations. The dynamics between players, agents, and clubs don't always follow a linear trajectory, and twists are inevitable, as evidenced by the current case.