While the first team rumbles toward the home stretch of their season, the Atlanta United Academy continues to work hard toward the club’s key goal of soccer development in the South. And it’s been another busy month full of achievement for the future of the Five Stripes. Here’s what you may have missed over the past month:
Bello shines under the MBS lights
One of the stories of the past month for the Atlanta United first team has been the play of Academy graduate George Bello. The 16-year-old left back got his first MLS start against Real Salt Lake in front of 70,000 fans earlier this month, playing well beyond his years and earning praise from his teammates in the locker room. He followed that up with a stellar second start, at home again versus the New England Revolution. On top of his lockdown defense, he scored his first MLS goal, becoming the sixth-youngest player to ever score in an MLS game. That culminated in an MLS Team of the Week nod, surely the first of many more to come for the young star from Douglasville, Georgia.
Carleton named in MLS 22 under 22 list
Joining Bello in the first-team headlines this month was fellow Atlanta United Academy graduate, Andrew Carleton. The Homegrown signing from Powder Springs, Georgia was named at #19 in the MLS 22 under 22 list honoring the best young talents in Major League Soccer. Impressing off the bench this month in MLS play, and shining in a more primary role at the USL level, Carleton continues to show why he was the club’s first ever Homegrown professional signing.
Ale Castro’s first professional goal
Atlanta United’s USL side ATL UTD 2 continues to be a great stage for some of the club’s youngest talent to develop in a professional environment. No one is a better example of that than Alessandro Castro, who scored his professional goal for the club earlier this month. And what a way to do it too, smashing a curling first-time effort with his right foot inside the post with a bending finish. It was so good it was nominated as the USL Goal of the Month. Not a bad first effort at the professional level!
There’s no bigger honor for a young soccer player than getting to represent your country at the international level. While Andrew Carleton, Chris Goslin and George Bello continue to get regular call-ups in their age groups, there are a few notable honors this month. Goalkeeper Vicente Reyes got to represent his native Chile in goal, and put in a strong performance there. And midfielder Will Reilly, who has become a regular starter for the U-17 side under new coach Stephen Glass, got his first international call-up for the U.S. U-17’s as well.
Goals of the Month
With all these headlines off the field, things of course are progressing well on it as well. And none have been better than these two belters for the Academy sides over the past month. First, Omar Hernandez’s pinpoing shot into the top corner:
But don’t forget Jordan Clagette, who went vertical with this bicycle kick finish for the U-14’s: