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Andrew Carleton removed from Atlanta United first team after passport issue

Carleton did not make Atlanta’s trip to Toronto Wednesday because he forgot his passport.

Aug 1, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta United player Andrew Carleton in the 2018 MLS All Star Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)
Aug 1, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta United player Andrew Carleton in the 2018 MLS All Star Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

MARIETTA, Ga. — Andrew Carleton has been removed from Atlanta United’s first team and currently is with Atlanta United 2, the club’s USL Championship affiliate, manager Frank de Boer said Friday. 

Carleton, who turned 19 on June 22, did not make the trip for Atlanta’s 3-2 loss at Toronto FC Wednesday because he forgot his passport. The lapse left the Five Stripes with a six-player bench. Major League Soccer game-day rosters typically consist of 18 players: 11 starters and seven reserves.

“That’s why he’s not with the first team right now,” de Boer told reporters at the Children’s Healthcare Training Ground. “He’s joining the USL team right now, and he has to — I’ve said to you guys already, I have no worries about his quality, but more his professional side.

“This is a great example, of course. You have to have responsibility for yourself, but especially for your teammates and for the club itself. That you didn’t show, there are consequences for that.”

Carleton traveled to Leesburg, Va., for Atlanta United 2’s game at Loudoun United Friday night. He has played seven games with the team this season.

The demotion is temporary. De Boer said Carleton will have the opportunity to work his way back to the first team this season.

“You have to show forgiveness, and he has to show that he is improving,” de Boer continued. “Until then, he is with the USL team. I stick with the roster that I have, so I can not say, ‘OK, he goes out, I take another one in.’ That’s not the case. I have to be aware that sometimes I needed him because we don’t have other players available. 

“He has to understand, this is not acceptable. Those kind of things, you have influence on, and he doesn’t understand right now that that’s something he has to learn, taking that responsibility. Sometimes you have to learn it the hard way. Hopefully that will be the case and he understands it.”

When Carleton was not named to the United States roster for this summer’s Under-20 World Cup, De Boer previously has spoken on the Powder Springs, Ga., native’s need to improve as a professional.

“He’s young,” de Boer said, “and there are a lot of things that you think, ‘hey, that’s tempting to do,’ distractions. … Those kind of things. You see it everywhere. He’s an Atlanta United first-team player, and you get a lot of attention, but you have to resist that sometimes. I think he can do better in that, and he understands that. … I think if he does that, he’s going to make a major step forward.”

This isn’t the Homegrown player’s first disciplinary issue. Last season, then-manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino suspended Carleton for the MLS Cup Final and subsequent championship parade because of an undisclosed indiscretion. Carleton had patronized a nightclub and posted images on social media the night before the final, according to the Athletic’s Pablo Maurer.

Captain Michael Parkhurst said Friday he came close to missing a trip because of a lost passport during his rookie season in 2005, so he understands how it could happen to a player. 

“That being said, myself, other guys have had conversations with Andy — and all the younger guys — making sure they understand that time goes quickly.

“We all want the best from Andy. We hope that he makes the best of his opportunities and doesn’t take them for granted because you never know when the last one comes. Hopefully it doesn’t come for a very long time for Andy. Hopefully he plays 15, 20 years. But the reality is, some guys don’t, and they don’t get out of it. Hopefully lessons are learned along the way, because that first group of Homegrowns, we need guys to understand the reality and to step up and take advantage of opportunities.”

Updated to clarify Carleton has made seven previous appearances for Atlanta United 2 this season.

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