In announcing the signing, Carlos Bocanegra, Vice President and Technical Director of Atlanta United, said the team has been following the goalkeeper for some time.
“He is one of the top goalkeeping prospects in the college game and we are happy to have him join Atlanta United,” he said.
Castanheira, 23, played collegiately at Columbia University where he broke numerous school and conference records. Finishing with a career record of 33-10-4, he set the Ivy League record for career goals against average (0.513). In addition, he also set the school record for career shutouts (25) and was an All-Ivy League Team selection three times.
He ended his career with the Lions as the 2018 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year after making 56 saves over 16 matches to produce a goals against average of 0.79.
He led the NCAA in goals-against average (0.29) and save percentage (0.903) in his sophomore season and was named second-team All-Ivy League. Castanheira led the Lions to the NCAA Tournament in 2017 where he made six saves in a win at William & Mary and saved two shots against No. 1 Wake Forest in the second round.
“I’m very excited to have signed my first professional contract with Atlanta,” Castanheira said in a statement posted on the Long Island Rough Riders’ website. “Their recent success is no surprise as they are a club with a lot of ambition that is very well run. I’m very happy to be a part of the organization and I can’t wait to get started.”
According to the Rough Riders, Castanheira had been key to Long Island’s success the past two seasons. He had a 0.91 goals against average during the 2017 regular season as Long Island (10-2-5) advanced to the PDL Eastern Conference Final. He made 42 saves and had a 1.09 GAA in 12 matches for Long Island (10-5-1) in 2018.
“It’s a great move for him,” said Stephen Roche, Rough Riders head coach. “I can see him doing really well in the USL Championship and then hopefully getting an opportunity sooner rather than later with the MLS squad. I know he will prove to everyone down there with his work rate and talent just how good he is.”