In the immediate aftermath of selecting Julian Gressel with the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, Atlanta United president Darren Eales expressed the belief that the four-year starter from Providence was “ready to contribute” immediately.
Twenty-four starts, five goals and nine assists later, the 23-year-old midfielder took home the league’s top rookie honors.
Gressel was named the 2017 AT&T MLS Rookie of the Year after playing a pivotal role for one of the top-scoring clubs in league history.
“It’s a great honor, not just for me but for the whole club. It’s been a tremendous year for me personally and now you add a trophy to it,” said Gressel, who played four different positions for manager Tata Martino. “It’s kind of a cool thing.”
"It's a great honor. Not just for me but I think for the whole club."
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) November 8, 2017
Gressel ran away with the award’s voting, earning 54 percent of the vote between players, media and coaches — more than triple the league’s second-place finisher.
No rookie finished the 2017 campaign with more combined goals and assists than Gressel, who complemented the likes of Miguel Almirón, Josef Martinez, Hector Villalba and Yamil Assad to help Atlanta United score 70 goals in its inaugural season.