Derrick Etienne, Jr., scored a goal in the 2020 MLS Cup final. (Photo courtesy of MLS)
Atlanta United Wednesday announced that it has signed free agent and former Red Bulls midfielder Derrick Etienne Jr. to a multi-year contract through 2025 with options for 2026 and 2027.
The Virginia native has spent his professional career in Major League Soccer, playing the past three seasons with the Columbus Crew.
“Derrick is a versatile winger who fits the profile of a player we were looking to bring in,” United vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement. “We’re excited to secure his services as he was a top free agent coming off an excellent season and heading into the prime of his career. Derrick has a great mentality, knows the league well and we are looking forward to him being a big part of the team going forward.”
Etienne Jr., 26, will enter his eighth season in MLS in 2023. He has made 148 appearances with 78 starts for three clubs and recorded 17 goals and 17 assists while winning an MLS Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup and Campeones Cup.
After spending one year at the University of Virginia, the Red Bulls academy product signed a homegrown deal with New York in December 2015. He made more than 50 regular season appearances for Red Bulls II in the USL Championship between 2015-19 and was a key member of the Red Bulls II side that won the USL Regular Season and USL Cup in 2016. He made his MLS debut on September 11, 2016 against D.C. United.
His first MLS start came at the beginning of the 2017 campaign against Colorado Rapids (March 11). He would go on to make 18 appearances for New York that year, collecting two assists. The following season, Etienne Jr. played in 30 games (nine starts) and scored his first MLS goal on March 31, 2018 at Orlando City. He finished the 2018 campaign with five goals and one assist as New York won the Supporters’ Shield. In 2019, the midfielder split time between Red Bulls and FC Cincinnati before signing with Columbus the following offseason.
In his first season with the Crew, Etienne Jr. made 22 appearances and scored in the 2020 MLS Cup final as Columbus defeated Seattle Sounders to win the title. The following season saw Etienne Jr. establish himself in the Columbus team when he set career-highs in starts (21), minutes played (1,849) and assists (five). He started the 2021 Campeones Cup, helping Columbus defeat Cruz Azul 2-0. The Richmond, Va. native upped those numbers again in 2022, starting 25 of his 33 appearances. He had a breakout campaign with nine goals and six assists in more than 2,200 minutes.
At the international level, Etienne Jr. has earned 36 caps and scored seven goals with the Haiti national team since making his debut as a substitute in a Caribbean Cup qualifier against French Guiana on Nov. 9, 2016. Most recently, Etienne Jr. scored two goals and had one assist in two Concacaf Nations League matches against Guyana.