ATLANTA – Atlanta United’s Academy today announced its coaching staff and the competitions each team will play in for the upcoming 2023-24 season. Entering its eighth season, Atlanta United’s Academy will field five teams and compete across two leagues.
The Academy’s U-13, U-14, U-15 and U-17 teams will compete in MLS NEXT, the youth development platform created by Major League Soccer in 2020. Additionally, the U-19s will compete in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL). All MLS NEXT teams kick off their respective seasons Sept. 10.
“The 2023-2024 campaign will be a very exciting season for the Atlanta United Academy,” said Academy Director Matt Lawrey. “We have scheduled international competitions to ensure our young Academy players get to compete against teams from all over the world and we will also be aggressive locally by playing our younger players against older and stronger competition. Off the field, we’re proud to support our players by providing opportunities to learn about mental health skills, how to take care of their bodies through proper rest and nutrition and understand how to improve in the gym. We have high expectations for our players, and through an even higher level of support, we know the future here in Atlanta is very bright.”
The club held its annual Academy dinner Tuesday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium where Lawrey, Atlanta United President and CEO Garth Lagerwey, Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda and ATL UTD 2 Head Coach Steve Cooke addressed the players.
The U-13s are led by Bruno Ramos, who enters his second season as a head coach with the club. Ramos was previously the Boys Director of Futsal and Advanced Development Program at Richmond Strikers.
Will Bates, a former striker at University of Virginia and Seattle Sounders’ first round 2013 MLS SuperDraft pick, returns to coach the U-14s. The U-14s recently competed in the BOAL International U-14 Tournament in Amsterdam, Netherlands where it finished in second place.
Zach Herold, former US Youth National Team standout and 2010 MLS SuperDraft Pick, enters his fifth season with the club and will coach the U-15 squad.
Steve Covino, an original member of the Academy staff since 2016, will coach Atlanta’s U-17s. Kevin Kratz, former Atlanta United center-midfielder and last year’s Head Coach of our Championship U-16 team, will join the U-17s coaching staff as Individual Development Coach.
The U-19s will be led by Ricky Davey, who enters his third season with the Academy staff. Davey is also a former assistant coach of Georgia State University men’s soccer.
Eleven players stemming from the club’s Regional Development School will join the Academy across four different age groups this year.
The Academy is also pleased to announce its following support staff:
- Matt Lawrey – Academy Director
- Dean Atkins – Director of Operations
- Kenley Nobles – Academy Administrator
- Stewart Lathan – Academy Player Care and Welfare Officer
- Henry Benavides – Academy Operations Coordinator
- Alejandro Perez – Learning Specialist
- Will Clayton – Academy Scout
- Michael Lynch – Academy Scout
- Bruno Ramos – U13 Head Coach
- Will Bates – U14 Head Coach
- Zach Herold – U15 Head Coach
- Steve Covino – U17 Head Coach
- Ricky Davey – U19 Head Coach / College Coordinator
- Kevin Kratz – Individual Development Coach
- Zack Schultze – Academy Goalkeeper Coach
- Karlie Paschall – Head of Developmental Performance
- Jordan Day – Academy Fitness Coach
- Richard Wolff – Academy Analyst
- Brianna Karweick – Academy Athletic Trainer
- Danica Hahn – Academy Athletic Trainer