Atlanta United today announced it has acquired Ezequiel Barco from Club Atlético Independiente of the Argentine Superleague. An 18-year-old attacking midfielder, Barco joins Atlanta as a Young Designated Player pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa.
“Securing a player of Ezequiel’s caliber is another significant moment in Atlanta United history,” Atlanta United President Darren Eales said. “This transfer further demonstrates the commitment of our club to bring top level, dynamic young players to Atlanta and to MLS. We are excited to welcome Ezequiel to our club and our city.”
Barco joined Independiente’s youth academy at 15 and signed a professional contract with the club in July of 2016. In two seasons, he combined to make 57 total appearances across the league, Copa Sudamericana, and Copa Argentina play, scoring eight goals. This past season, he made eight league appearances, scoring one goal and adding two assists. Most recently, Barco helped lead Independiente to the 2017 Copa Sudamericana title, defeating Brazilian side Flamengo 3-2 on aggregate in the final. The 18-year-old played a key role for El Rojo and tallied three goals and two assists during its run to the championship, including the title-deciding goal when he converted a penalty to make it 1-1 in the second leg at the Maracana. Barco also recorded an assist in the first leg of the final, a 2-1 win for Independiente, and scored from the penalty spot during a 3-1 win over Libertad in the semifinals, helping Independiente win 3-2 on aggregate to advance to the final.
“It speaks to the type of club that we’re becoming that Ezequiel chose to sign with our club over several European competitors,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “As one of the top young players in South America who has been a fixture in the Argentinian youth national team setup, we’re elated that he’s decided to continue his career in Atlanta.”
During the 2016-17 season, his first season in the Argentine Superleague, Barco appeared in all 30 league matches, had 18 starts and scored four goals. He helped the club secure a sixth-place finish in the 28-team league, qualifying it for the 2018 Copa Sudamericana. Internationally, Barco has made eight appearances with Argentina’s U-20 National Team, most recently during the U-20 South American Championship.
Name: Ezequiel Barco
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Birthdate: March 29, 1999 (age: 18)
Birthplace: Villa Gobernador Gálvez, Argentina
Previous Club: Club Atlético Independiente
Transaction: Signed as a Young Designated Player on Jan. 19, 2018.