ATLANTA (Aug. 25, 2021) – Atlanta United’s Academy today announced its coaching staff and the competitions each team will play in for the upcoming 2021-22 season. Entering its sixth season, Atlanta United’s Academy will field seven teams and compete across three leagues.
The club held its annual Academy dinner this week at Mercedes-Benz Stadium where owner and chairman Arthur Blank, Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda and ATL UTD 2 head coach Jack Collison all attended and addressed the players.
“I’m excited for my first season leading the Academy supported by one of the best coaching staffs in the country,” Atlanta United Academy Director Matt Lawrey said. “We have a first-class group of coaches that brings an unbelievable work ethic and drive each day. As a group, we made the decision to play in three separate competitions in MLS NEXT, UPSL and SCCL to get the most out of each squad and achieve the development goals we have set forth. We believe each team will compete in the appropriate league to allow our players to maximize their potential and face a high-level of competition.”
The Academy’s U-13s through U-17s will compete in MLS NEXT, the youth development platform created by Major League Soccer last year. Additionally, the U-19s will compete in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) while the U-12s will compete in Southeastern Clubs Champions League (SCCL), respectively. The MLS NEXT season kicks-off Sept. 4.
The U-12s are led by first-year head coach Kellington Boddie, who was promoted last year from the club’s Regional Development School. Will Bates, a former striker at University of Virginia and Seattle Sounders’ first round 2013 MLS SuperDraft pick, joins the club for his first season and is head coach of the U-13s.
Zach Herold, former US Youth National Team standout and 2010 MLS SuperDraft Pick, will head up the U-14 squad for his third season in Atlanta. Omar Jarun enters his fourth season with the club and is U-15 head coach.
The U-16s are led by Kevin Kratz in his first season as a head coach. Kratz played for Atlanta United from 2017-19 and played professionally in Germany from 2006-2016.
The Academy is also pleased to announce its following support staff:
- Lewis Sharpe – Head of goalkeeping
- Josh Stewart – Head of Academy Sports Science / Strength & Conditioning
- Jeff Paul and Greg Gandy – Academy Medical
- Alejandro Perez – Administrator and Operations
- Stewart Lathan and Kim Goodstadt – Education and Player Care
- Joao Johanning – Assistant Coach
2021-22 Regional Development School Graduates
15 of the 34 new players in Atlanta United's Academy will join having participated in our Regional Development School.
ABOUT ATLANTA UNITED
Atlanta United joined Major League Soccer in 2017 and won the 2018 MLS Cup in just its second season, the earliest an expansion team has won the title since 1998. The club has set multiple league records including season tickets sales (36,000-plus), single-game attendance (72,548), single-season average (53,002) and total home attendance (901,033). Owned by Arthur M. Blank, and led by club President Darren Eales, Atlanta United plays its home matches at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. For more information about Atlanta United, including how to purchase season tickets, visit: www.atlutd.com, and follow @ATLUTD.