Atlanta United today announced that Academy Director and Atlanta United 2 interim head coach Tony Annan will leave the club to become the head coach of the University of South Carolina men’s soccer program. Annan will stay on with the club until mid-June. The club is conducting an active search to fill the respective roles of Academy Director and ATL UTD 2 head coach.
“It’s bittersweet to announce Tony’s departure from Atlanta United, as he has been an integral factor for our success over the last five years and has truly been a pleasure to work with,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “In 2016, we became the first MLS Academy to launch prior to its First Team, and it put us in the position that we are in today, which includes several professional signings who have gone on to play meaningful minutes, as well more than 40 other Academy players who have received Division 1 scholarships. We want to thank Tony for his years of service to the club and wish him success at the University of South Carolina.”
Annan originally joined Atlanta United in April 2016 and was promoted to Academy Director later in December. Under his leadership in five years, the Academy has produced 12 players who have gone on to sign professional contracts, including 10 MLS Homegrown players. Of those 10 signings, eight have gone on to earn First Team minutes. Additionally, two other former Academy players have signed with the club’s USL affiliate, ATL UTD 2, and a total of 42 players have received scholarships at the NCAA Division 1 level.
As Atlanta United became the first MLS Academy to launch before its First Team, Annan oversaw one of the most successful seasons for any academy during its inaugural 2016-17 United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) season. Serving as head coach of the U-17s, Annan won the club’s first piece of hardware, claiming the national championship that season. Also that season, the U-19s won the Southeast Division and finished the season as the No. 1 overall national seed.
Atlanta’s development pipeline has also grown in recent years, adding five new professional signings over the last year with defenders George Campbell and Efrain Morales, along with forwards Machop Chol, Jackson Conway and Tyler Wolff. Outside of Wolff, each of the other four were members of Atlanta United’s original Academy class.