After a historic July that brought the Atlanta United Academy’s first piece of silverware, the news has yet to slow down for the future of the red, black & gold. Here’s what you may have missed in August so far:
MLS Homegrown Game
The month started off with two of Atlanta United’s brightest talents representing the Five Stripes on the national stage, with both Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin selected for the MLS Homegrown team as part of MLS All-Star week. Carleton started the game as the youngest player on the field, dazzling the crowd with some crisp dribbling and passing. He almost added a goal as well, but it was cleared off the line by an opposing defender.
Goslin would come into the game with 30 minutes left in the match. Usually a midfielder, Goslin showed his value in versatility filling in at an unfamiliar wingback role, capping off a solid 30-minute performance with an assist on the equalizing goal in stoppage time.
New Academy Rosters Announced
August marked the beginning of a new chapter in the Atlanta United Academy. The kickoff of a new season means the announcement of the new rosters for all the squads, from U-12 up to the brand new U-19 squad. It’s largely the same squad of players that just won the USSDA National Championship in the U-17 division moving up to face more senior opposition. Still just 15 years old, fullback George Bello will play several years above his age bracket, while the starting goalkeeper for the U-17 U.S. National team, Justin Garces, officially joins in the net. Meanwhile, promising youngster Chad Letts moved down from the Philadelphia Union as well as some of the best local talent in the area will also join the Five Stripes family. That just barely scratches the surface, click here to see the full rosters for every team: U-12, U-13, U-14, U-15, U-16, U-17, U-19.
Two more Atlanta United Academy players have officially made their professional debuts, this time for Atlanta’s USL affiliate the Charleston Battery. Teenagers Patrick Okonkwo and Laurent Kissiedou both came on as second-half substitutes in the team’s match against the Richmond Kickers. This moment marks a big step in the professional development of two more Atlanta United Academy success stories so far.
FIFA World Cup Tune-up
The U-17 FIFA World Cup is just around the corner, and there could be several Atlanta United players representing their nation in the world’s premier youth tournament in India this Fall. The U.S. National Team just participated in the 2017 International Youth Tournament of Vaclav Jezek, the final tune-up before the World Cup, and four Atlanta United players were called up for the opportunity. Goalkeeper Justin Garces, defender Charlie Asensio, as well as midfielders Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin were all called up.
The team finished with a record of 3-1 over the course of the tournament, with huge wins over Hungary, Russia and Iceland – as well as a loss to Japan – for a 3rd place finish in the tournament. All four Atlanta United players contributed, with Justin Garces earning plenty of minutes in goal and defender Charlie Asensio wearing the captain’s armband for his country in a memorable day for him. Meanwhile Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin both scored, with Goslin’s wonder strike one of the goals of the tournament.
All four Atlanta United players acquitted themselves well, and will be hoping they convinced head coach John Hackworth that they deserve a chance to go to India in October.
Two more Atlanta United prospects represented the U.S. National Team this month, with George Bello and Danny Mangarov suiting up for the red, white and blue at the U-15 CONCACAF Championships. Bello was a lockdown defender all tournament, with Mangarov adding flair and pace to the wing for the squad off the bench. The team made it all the way to the finals, where they fell just short in a 1-0 loss to Mexico after beating Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, Canada. Despite the finals loss, it was an overall impressive performance for the United States, who scored 15 goals while only allowing three over the course of the tournament.
Liga MX Internacional Tournament
Finally, the new look U-17’s gained valuable experience against some of the best academies in North America this month at the Liga MX Internacional Tournament in Mexico City. Atlanta went toe-to-toe against both finalists, drawing 1-1 with FC Dallas and Liga MX side Pachuca, while beating Atlas and Toluca along the way. Jackson Conway in particular was in fine goalscoring form, but the team fell just one goal short of advancing to the final in the historic Estadio Azteca.
“Thanks to Liga MX for a first class tournament and experience,” academy director Tony Annan said. “These are the types of games we need for our development.”
Stay tuned as the new academy season is already in full swing, and the official roster for the U-17 FIFA World Cup is expected sometime in September.