It’s been another incredible year on and off the field for the Atlanta United Academy, and the future of Atlanta United got the recognition they deserved this weekend. Several Five Stripes youngsters were honored at the annual end-of-year US Soccer Development Academy Awards ceremony that recognizes the top young players in the country.
Taking home the headline award was U18/19 goalkeeper Justin Garces, who was named the Eastern Conference player of the year for his age group. The netminder, who has turned heads at the USL level this season, was recognized for his achievements after a stellar playoffs run for the Five Stripes. He was joined in the U18/19 Eastern Conference Best XI by team captain and defender Will Crain, with Atlanta United one of just two teams to have two players named in the squad. Both players will be playing at the collegiate level next season, with Garces committed to UCLA and Crain headed up to the Northeast to play for Brown University.
Moving down an age group, two more Atlanta United players were honored in the U-16/17 Eastern Conference Best XI –– as many as any other team. Lockdown defender George Campbell was named in the back line and Jackson Conway, the top scorer in his age age group, was selected in the front line.
And now, the best players of the year. Here's your East Conference Best XI! pic.twitter.com/do6LUhxUaU— Development Academy (@ussoccer_acad) July 8, 2018
And as Academy Director Tony Annan has said time and time again, the Academy’s mission is just as much about helping the athletes grow as people as well as players on the field. So he will be pleased with the final team award of the night, the Community Award for the Eastern conference, recognizing the team’s involvement in the Atlanta community.
First up, congrats to our Community and Administrators of the year winners! 👏 pic.twitter.com/OTChbA3k1W— Development Academy (@ussoccer_acad) July 7, 2018
It was a special night of recognition for the team, but there’s one team award still up for grabs that’s the main priority for the team. After a last-minute winner in the semifinals over the weekend, the U-16/17’s will now play in the USSDA National Championship for the second season in a row as they look to defend their title against Western Conference powerhouse Seattle Sounders. That match will be streamed live on atlutd.com/live, so make sure to tune in on Tuesday to root on the future of Atlanta United.