BIELEFELD, Germany (AP) — United States defender George Bello joined German first division team Arminia Bielefeld from Atlanta United on the last day of the winter transfer period on Monday.

The German club said 20-year-old Bello signed a deal through June 2026 and will wear the No. 24 jersey.

Bielefeld, which was promoted as second division champion in 2020, is 14th in the 18-team Bundesliga, just two points above the relegation zone.

“In George we’re getting a very fast and dynamic left back with a strong attacking drive,” Bielefeld coach Frank Kramer said. “He’s a good kid who brings that typical American enthusiasm and wants to make a difference.”

Atlanta said Bello is the club’s first homegrown player to play in one of Europe’s top five leagues.

“Each player has a different path in their development, but George is a shining example of one of those pathways that our club can offer,” Atlanta technical director Carlos Bocanegra said.


Bello is a 20-year-old native of Nigeria who moved with his family to suburban Atlanta when he was 1. He joined Atlanta’s academy in 2016, made his MLS debut in 2018, and soon after scored his first goal against New England Revolution. He made his breakthrough in 2020 with 20 games, all but one as a starter, then followed with 29 games in 2021.

Bello represented the United States at youth level before making his senior debut a year ago in a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago. He has since made another five appearances, including a start in the 2021 Gold Cup final win over Mexico.


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