A typical training day for Atlanta United consist of video review, activation training in the gym followed by tactical training on the pitch. This routine allows the players to accurately prepare for the next match-up. This week was different for the players though, on Tuesday the normally routine training day was shaken up by the presence of the family and friends of the team.

A Unique Experience

As the players exited the gym and headed to the pitch, they were welcomed by their loved ones supporting them on the sidelines. Children, family members, friends and staff watched as the team began their drills. With their loved ones close, the players continued business as usual.

The team began with passing drills on the further side of the pitch, the training started with high energy and speed. From there on the players moved on to rondos, that portion of training always seems to be the most fun. On any given training you’ll hear Alan Franco laughing as someone missed a pass or Luiz Araújo celebrating a good save. This time those laughs and cheers we joined with small hands waving and little voices cheering on “Daddy.”

From there, coaching staff split the team into two teams, sometimes a 5v5 others 7v7. Even with the presence of their families the players were focused in giving their all. Families could hear Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda giving instructions telling players to press, move up, and to keep pushing forward. Even without Pineda being next to you, you could hear the instructions clearly.

Early on Thiago Almada looked hungry to score, in one play Almada hit the ball with great strength that the cross bar rang with the impactful hit. Alan Franco showed top-notch defending as his teammates wanted to score but Franco blocked the shot Amar Sejdić got the ball and attempted to shoot again but Caleb Wiley blocked any chance of goal.

To end of training the players had some fun with a PK challenge, one by one the players lined up to take their shot. Midfielder Santiago Sosa got in on the fun scoring a PK and celebrating by taking his training top off and giving a celebratory yell.

Fueled by Family

As training wrapped up Pineda gathered players and coaching staff around and walked towards the families. Pineda spoke directly to everyone in attendance, thanking them for their sacrifices and crediting them for their ability to play.

“You guys are the reason we do this.” Pineda said. “And I want to thank you for all that you do. You are the motivation for all of us. On behalf of the players, I want to say thank you. All we want is for you to feel proud of us.”

Families and friends play a crucial part in the game. While they aren’t on the pitch, they provide the support each player needs to perform their best. They’re with the players through the highs and lows of the season, they celebrate and comfort.

“Honestly it’s hard to do these kinds of activities.” Forward Ronaldo Cisneros said. “We are always thinking about the next match, concentrated on what we have to better. And family is an important part of it. They are the ones who see us when we lose, how we feel. When we draw, they see our desire to have done more and when we win, they’re there to celebrate with us and share those happy moments with. I’m really happy to get to have events like this.”

The day ended with players and families enjoying a day filled with fun at the training ground. A place of hard work, sacrifice and determination was filled with laughter, face paint, food and fun.

Atlanta United will face C.F. Pachuca on Tuesday Jun. 14 for the first American Family Insurance Cup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Join in on the fun and get your tickets here.

Training Photos: Week of June 6
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