With the U-15/16's preparing for the USSDA national semifinal, three more academy products signing Homegrown contracts with the first team, international debuts and much more, this season has already been a huge success for Atlanta United’s academy. But four of the brightest stars in the youth system received a little cherry on top of the cake with some well-deserved recognition at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy’s end-of-season award ceremony.
Goal of the Year
First up came the goal of the year, and it was Atlanta United’s own James Brighton taking home the honors with this stunning overhead kick from earlier this season:
Next up was the "Best XI" of the season, and there were three Atlanta United players honored between the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups in the Eastern Conference. Defender George Bello was honored in the U-15/16's, and he was joined by fellow Homegrown signing Lagos Kunga as well as defender Edwin Figueroa in the older age group.
And now, the 👑s of the East.. Here are your 2016-2017 EAST Conference Best XI players at the U-15/16 and U-17/18 levels. Way to go, lads! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/TxD2ilPo6Z— Development Academy (@ussoccer_acad) July 14, 2017
Player of the Year
In addition to his name in the Best XI, Bello earned the ultimate individual honor as well, being named the USSDA Player of the Year in the Eastern Conference for the U-15/16 age group:
So fresh. 🌟 A few newly-minted 2016-2017 Development Academy Players of the Year! 🥇 pic.twitter.com/JWOnTmHayZ— Development Academy (@ussoccer_acad) July 14, 2017
All in all, another historic night for the Atlanta United academy, and a nice sign to the hard work of these young players be recognized and rewarded.