Atlanta United today announced the head coaching team for the club’s youth Academy program. Officially launched on June 3, the Atlanta United Academy is led by Academy director Richard Money and Academy manager Tony Annan.
Representing deep and diverse levels of experience in youth soccer development, the five-member head coaching team will support the players’ development among the academy teams which range from the U-12 to U-18 levels.
“We are very happy with the class of coaches we have recruited for the Academy,” said Atlanta United Academy director Richard Money. “They bring a solid blend of experience both on and off the field and will complement each other well. Each has a strong background in coaching along with unique skill sets that will significantly contribute to our program and the development of our players.”
The Academy coaching team will be based at the Atlanta United training ground, currently under construction in Marietta, GA. Primary responsibilities will include creating and implementing player development curriculum, leading training sessions and monitoring player progress.
“The Atlanta United Academy aims to contribute to the advancement of youth soccer at the local, national and international levels,” said Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra. “By recruiting this class of elite coaches, we are continuing our commitment to providing our youth players with a best-in-class training environment to ensure that they develop and thrive.”
The Atlanta United Academy kicks-off pre-season training on Monday, August 8 and begins league matches in early September.
Atlanta United Academy Head Coaching Team
Rodrigo Rios, Kristofer Bertsch, Michael Lynch, Matthew Lawrey, Liam Curran (Head Goalkeeper Coach)
Rodrigo Rios is a former Chilean U-20 and U-23 National Team player. Rios spent two years playing for the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks (2005-06) and went on to become the club’s Director of Soccer in 2010. Rios also coached youth soccer at Norcross Soccer Academy and continued in youth coaching with the United Football Academy. He was awarded “Coach of the year” for the state of Georgia in 2013. Rios is currently a USSF ‘A’ License Coach.
Kristofer Bertsch joins Atlanta from the University of Louisville where he served as Assistant Head Men’s Soccer Coach beginning in 2015. During Bertsch’s tenure, the Cardinals achieved a top 10 national ranking during the 2015 season. Prior to Louisville, Bertsch was the Associate Head Men’s Soccer Coach at Xavier University (2010-15) and Syracuse University (2009-10) and served as Director of Soccer Operations at the University of Connecticut (2005-09). He was a starting midfielder for American University Men’s Soccer Team from 1999 – 2002 and was selected to the FC Delco Hall of Fame as a youth player. Bertsch is currently a USSF ‘A’ License Coach.
Michael Lynch was a key member of U.S. Soccer’s Olympic Development Program where he assisted in sending numerous players to regional and national team levels. Lynch also served as a collegiate coach with Clayton State University where he helped lead the women’s team to the most successful season in school history. Lynch has strong ties to multiple college programs, and also brings a strong background in performance analysis to enhance player development. Lynch played youth soccer in England and professionally in Ireland and Finland before moving to the U.S. to obtain his degree and play for Clayton State. Lynch is currently a USSF ‘A’ License Coach.
Matthew Lawrey joins Atlanta United from the Richmond Strikers, one of the premier youth franchises in Virginia. Lawrey played his collegiate career at the University of Mary Washington where he went on to serve as Assistant Coach for the men’s soccer program. Lawrey also served as youth coach at Stafford Soccer Club and Prince William Soccer Inc. in Virginia and was voted Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Goal National Coach of the Year in 2013. Lawrey is currently a USSF ‘A’ License Coach.
Liam Curran (Goalkeeper Head Coach) most recently served as Clemson University Assistant Coach (2012-16). During his time with the Tigers, the squad became 2015 NCAA National Finalists, 2014 ACC Tournament Champions and 2014 ACC Atlantic Division Champions. Curran also served as University of Akron Goalkeeper Coach (2010-12) for the 2011 MAC Champions, 2010 NCAA National Champions and 2010 MAC Championship squad. Curran has coached and mentored four professional goalkeepers including former Clemson GK Andrew Tarbell (San Jose Earthquakes; selected 8th overall in 2016 MLS SuperDraft), Former Clemson GK Chris Glodack (Tampa Bay Rowdies), Former Clemson GK Cody Mizell (Charlotte Independence), and Former Akron GK David Meves (Puerto Rico FC). Curran brings strong pedigree in goalkeeper coaching, and is well versed in performance analysis. He holds a NSCAA Advanced Diploma.
Former captain of the 2014 Clemson University ACC Championship Team, 2014-15 ACC Male Scholar Athlete of the Year and 2015 Clemson Graduate Assistant Coach Bobby Belair will serve as Atlanta United Academy Administrator.