GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Prominent members of Guadalajara welcomed Atlanta United to the city on Wednesday at a cordial press conference held at Club Atlas Colomos.
Club Atlas President Victor Flores Cosío and Vice President José Luis Velázquez Ladewig welcomed Atlanta United to its facility. Club Atlas Colomos, a country club in Zapopan, is where Atlanta United will train during its trip to Mexico.
U.S. Consul General to Guadalajara Eliza Al-Laham also participated in the reception, delivering a warm message in both English and Spanish.
“I’m thrilled to welcome the Atlanta United Football Club to Guadalajara for their second visit in three years,” Al-Laham said. “We congratulate you for choosing to spend another important preseason session in Mexico and to compete with Mexican teams. We are excited about the opportunities that will spring from this visit as well as the deepening relationships between U.S. and Mexican soccer teams.”
Club president Darren Eales, head coach Gonzalo Pineda, and Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra represented Atlanta United. The two sides exchanged gifts as a ceremonial gesture. Atlanta United received a flag from Club Atlas. In return, Atlanta United presented BLVCK kits to Al-Laham and the representatives from Club Atlas.
During the trip, Atlanta United will be very connected to Mexican soccer. Atlas is also a professional club in Liga MX. Known as Atlas Futból Club, the club was founded and trains in Guadalajara and is the most recent champion of the league. In friendlies next week, Atlanta United will face three other Mexican clubs: Celeya FC, Chivas and Tepatitlán FC.
“We feel like we’re a club that’s on the rise, but we know that this relationship with Liga MX is really important and we want to fully embrace it,” Eales said. “So we’re thankful for having a chance here in preseason to train, and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Atlanta United has stayed in the city before, but the previous trip was for a much shorter amount of time. The club played Universidad Guadalajara in a friendly on Feb. 12, 2020, right before the pandemic put a limit on sporting events and travel.
This year’s unprecedented trip represents the growing relationship between U.S. and Mexican soccer. Starting in 2023, Atlanta United will participate in the revamped Leagues Cup, a tournament that all teams in MLS and Liga MX will compete in.
Additionally, Atlanta United has looked to Mexico as a primary place where the club can grow its brand, especially with Pineda, a Mexico native, at the helm. So, the welcome on Wednesday indicates a budding partnership between the two countries and the two cities – a relationship that could lead to even more joint efforts later on.
“Atlanta United’s five values and principles are inspiring to us: equality, diversity, inclusion, unity and strength,” Al-Laham said. “We look forward to promoting these shared values through programming and future collaboration.”
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