Nashville SC selected center back Josh Bauer in Stage 1 of the MLS Re-Entry Draft on Friday. Bauer, 23, was selected by Atlanta United in last year’s MLS SuperDraft and spent the entire season with Atlanta United 2 in the USL Championship. From the club press release:
“Josh was an exceptional center back at the amateur level in college and gained a tremendous amount of valuable experience in USL this past season. We think he has the makings of a someone that can add depth to an outstanding corps of central defenders we currently have.” – Nashville SC General Manager Mike Jacobs
Bauer appeared in 27 matches for Atlanta United 2 in the USL Championship this past season, registering over 2,000 minutes of action. Bauer recorded 87 clearances, 69 interceptions and 26 blocks in his first professional season with Atlanta United 2.
Prior to joining Atlanta United, Bauer made 60 career appearances, all starts, and scored 10 goals with 10 assists at the University of New Hampshire. Over his college career, Bauer was named a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist in 2019 – an award annually given to the top collegiate soccer player – and was twice named both the America East Defender of the Year and the ECAC Defender of the Year. He also helped lead the Wildcats to back-to-back conference titles.
In 2,307 minutes for Atlanta United 2, Bauer tallied a Goals Added score of -0.69, according to American Soccer Analysis, the 46th best score of center-backs with over 2,000 minutes. His passing numbers were above average, completing 82% of passess atempted.
Stylistically, Bauer’s G+ score is fairly similar to Robert Castellanos in his final season at the USL Championship level, and he has a similar profile of being a solid USL defender with potential MLS upside. With 27 professional matches under his belt, Bauer has more experience than a player coming out of the SuperDraft, a quality which Nashville’s technical staff values highly. He’ll start in a depth role with potential to grow into more, and will give Nashville additional cover on their backline.