ATLANTA - Former Oakland men's soccer standout and FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt has signed with Atlanta United FC becoming the second alumni along with current DC United goalkeeper Steve Clark to play Major League Soccer (MLS).
"I could not be happier for Mitch and his wife Amber as I know this is something he has worked very hard for over the last six years since graduating from Oakland in 2012,” said head men’s soccer coach Eric Pogue. “Reaching the top level of professional soccer in the United States with MLS and being signed by a top-level club like Atlanta United is a great honor and something we are very proud of him about. Mitch's signing also reflects his two fantastic seasons with FC Cincinnati where he was named 2016 United Soccer League (USL) Goalkeeper of the Year and I know he is eager to get down to Atlanta and start working on those next set of goals in MLS."
This season, Hildebrandt backboned FC Cincinnati to the 2017 U.S. Open Cup Semifinals where the club eventually fell to the New York Red Bulls, 3-2. In five matches, he recorded three shutouts against Louisville City FC (June 1), Columbus Crew SC (June 15) and Miami FC (Aug. 3). In the Round of 16, Hildebrandt heroically saved three penalties in a shootout to lead FC Cincinnati to an upset win over the Chicago Fire. In league play, Hildebrandt started all 32 games and helped the club to a sixth-place finish while leading the USL in saves.
“I couldn’t be more excited and happy to be joining the best and biggest club in MLS,” said Hildebrandt on his Twitter account. “Already in its short history, Atlanta has proven to have a remarkable and passionate fan base. The love and support Amber and I have received from the 5-stripe’s faithful thus far has truly been heartwarming. I will do all I can to add quality to this already deep roster and contribute to bringing this club an MLS cup. I’m honored to start my journey here in Atlanta and to proudly wear the badge everyday moving forward.”
Hildebrandt joined FC Cincinnati prior to the club’s inaugural season in 2016 guiding it to back-to-back USL Cup Playoffs appearances. He was named 2016 USL Goalkeeper of the Year after compiling a 0.862 goals against average with 10 shutouts helping lead the team to a third-place finish in the Eastern Conference.
A native of Livonia, Mich., Hildebrandt played at Oakland from 2008 through 2011 ranking fourth all-time for saves in a season with 94 and was part of three Summit League championship teams.