Atlanta United announced today it has signed free agent defender Brek Shea to a one-year deal. The nine-year MLS veteran joins Atlanta following a two-year stint with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Shea appeared in 28 matches in 2018, making 13 starts for the Whitecaps. Over his MLS career, the midfielder has made 197 regular season and eight postseason appearances.
“We’re pleased to add a player of Brek’s caliber and versatility to the club,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “He has significant experience, playing numerous years in MLS, overseas and for the U.S. Men’s National Team, and will be a great addition to our locker room.”
Shea, 28, is a versatile player that has experience playing multiple positions in midfield and defense. The left-footed player was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft by FC Dallas. His MLS debut came on April 20, 2008, when he featured off the bench against Chivas USA. In 2010, Shea became a regular for FC Dallas, playing 25 matches and making 21 starts. His first professional goal came on May 15, 2010, against Philadelphia Union. He started in the 2010 MLS Cup Final for FC Dallas against Colorado Rapids. His breakout season came the following season when Shea started 30 of 31 games and scored a career-best 11 goals. The College Station, Texas native was voted to the MLS All-Star Game, was an MLS Best XI selection and an MLS MVP finalist that season. Shea then made a move to the English Premier League, where he joined Stoke City on January 31, 2013.
The midfielder made his Premier League debut a month later against Fulham. He went on to make one more appearance that season. After missing the start of the 2013-14 season due to a knee injury, Shea joined Barnsley in the English Championship on a loan stint. Later that season, he joined Birmingham City on a loan to earn more playing time. In December of 2014, Shea made his MLS return complete when he signed with Orlando City SC.
In two seasons with Orlando, Shea made 46 appearances (39 starts) for the club. He scored a total of three goals and added six assists before being traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps in February 2017. Over the past two seasons, Shea has scored seven goals and added four assists. Despite battling nagging injuries throughout, Shea made 28 appearances for Vancouver in 2018, the most in a single season for him since 2011.
An alum of the U.S. residency program in Bradenton, Fla., Shea has been a long-time member of the U.S. Men’s National Team program. He played for the U-17 and U-20 national teams before making his senior national team debut in October 2010. He played the first half in a friendly against Colombia, becoming the first U.S. player born in the 1990s to make an appearance for the senior national team. He has since gone on to earn 34 caps and score four goals.
Name: Brek Shea
Birthdate: Feb. 28, 1990 (age: 28)
Birthplace: College Station, Texas
Transaction: Atlanta United signed free agent Brek Shea on Dec. 30, 2018.