You may have been taking it easy over the holidays, but the future of Atlanta United were still working hard as the Academy season continues at full steam. Here’s what you may have missed in the month of December:
U12s host, excel in GA Cup
The Generation adidas Cup is one of the biggest tests in all of youth soccer, pitting the best teams against each other in a national competition. Atlanta United’s youngest squad, the U12s, had the privilege of hosting the final rounds at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground –– and the results did not disappoint. They took care of business the first day, beating out the Colorado Rapids and San Jose Earthquakes by 3-1 and 2-0 scorelines, respectively. They then beat out FC Dallas in the quarterfinal, but fell just short to Philadelphia in the semifinals. Goalkeeper Jonathan Ransom took home individual honors as well, winning the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper in the tournament. Academy Director Tony Annan said it was some of the best U12 soccer he’s seen at Atlanta United, and a great sign of things to come for the Atlanta United Academy.
U17s and U19s dominate Winter Cup
From the youngest age group to the oldest, the U17s and U19s each went head to head with MLS Academy teams this month at the GA Winter Cup, and they both put on dominant performances, going unbeaten over the tournament. Highlights of the weekend included a 4-0 victory for the U19 squad over Real Salt Lake, and a 4-0 victory for the U17 side over Minnesota United followed by a 4-1 win over the Portland Timbers. New Atlanta United homegrown signing George Campbell was the hero in the final match for the U19s, coming up from defense to score the game-winner in the 95th minute against FC Golden State.
Academy Alumni shine at College Cup
The Atlanta United Academy has been around long enough now to see some of its alumni really shine at the next level, and nowhere was that more apparent than at the NCAA’s national championship tournament, the College Cup. With alumni on teams like NC State, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Mercer, UNC Charlotte and more, there seemed to be Atlanta United alumni in every round. That also included powerhouses like Clemson, which went all the way to the quarterfinals, and Wake Forest, where Machop Chol became the first Atlanta United Academy graduate to play in the College Cup semifinals. All in all, it was a great weekend for Atlanta United Academy alumni, and just another sign that the club is cultivating soccer players all over the country.
Annan and Collison Q&A
Atlanta United fans got a glimpse of the future of the Atlanta United Academy this month, as Academy Director Tony Annan was joined by former Premier League star and new Atlanta United Academy coach Jack Collison on a Facebook Live to answer questions from the fans. It’s worth the watch for anyone who is interested in the future of youth development at Atlanta United and the United States at large. Click here to watch.
Academy Goals of the Year
Last but certainly not least, no look back at the year would be complete without a review of the best goals from the past 365 days. There are plenty to choose from, but which was your favorite?