Atlanta United may have just played their 2018 home debut, but the Academy is working hard behind the scenes as well as they work to achieve their dreams. Here’s what you may have missed from the future of the club:
Preparing for the Elite
The cream of the crop of American soccer are gearing up for two major tournaments later this month, and now Atlanta United knows who they will face.
The Generation Adidas Cup, Major League Soccer’s annual elite youth tournament for the U-17 Academy teams, continues at the end of the month. After Atlanta United topped their region earlier this year, they will participate in the Championship Division as they look to clinch the ultimate prize against some of the top youth clubs in the world. With 16 teams remaining, Atlanta United will face off against Ecuadorian powerhouse Independiente del Valle, with the possibility of facing giants like Real Madrid, Monaco, River Plate, or seven other MLS sides moving forward if they win.
Meanwhile, the Academy is also warming up for the Dr. Pepper Dallas Cup, the oldest and arguably most prestigious youth tournament in the United States. With teams like Manchester United, Arsenal and more in attendance, it is a major priority for all youth clubs. Atlanta United is participating for the first time this year, and have been paired with Brazilian side EC Vitoria, Mexican team CF Monterrey, and Spain’s Real Oviedo in the group stages.
United Juniors Program begins
One of the Academy’s primary initiatives for 2018 has officially launched. The United Juniors program is designed to identify youth players and enhance development earlier than the U-12 level, which is the youngest official Atlanta United Academy age group. ATL UTD Academy coaches are working with club directors and coaches from youth teams across Georgia to select players to join the program, and once selected, players will remain an active player with their own youth club while receiving additional development from Atlanta United’s staff. The players began training in late February and will continue to receive weekly hands-on training from the club until May of this year for the inaugural program.
Leaving Orlando with W’s
Three Atlanta United Academy teams travelled down to Orlando this month to face off against Orlando City as part of the USSDA season. The U-15’s, U-17’s and U-19’s all took the field against our MLS neighbors to the South and went undefeated on the weekend. The U-17’s came out 3-1 winners and U-19’s took the W with a 2-1 score, while the U-15’s fought to a high-scoring 3-3 draw, completing the unbeaten weekend.
5-Stripes Don’t Stop 🔴⚫️🔴⚫️🔴— ATLUTD Academy (@AcademyATLUTD) March 11, 2018
✈️ Heading back to Atlanta with 16 points pic.twitter.com/xFTPSA9HMv
Atlanta United Academy products are already making their name in the older age groups, but the younger Five Stripes are also being recognized by their country as well. Midfielder Samuel Kolby was called up for the U-15 U.S. training camp, while goalkeeper Vincente Reyes, defender Kobey Stoup and forward Joseph Collins were all called for the U-16 camp.
Give & Go
Finally, the priorities for Atlanta United aren’t just on the field, and their desire to form young athletes into good people was on show this month as well. The Academy players pitched in with Atlanta United’s Give & Go campaign, a day of community service leading up to the team’s home debut. In partnership with Leesa mattresses, the players helped pack and donate hundreds of mattresses that will help out families in need in the Atlanta area.