Academy Recap – March 25

The Five Stripes first team may have gotten a well-deserved weekend off, but the Academy sides are still going full steam. In case you missed it, here’s the latest of what’s going on with the future of Atlanta United:

Annan named to Georgia Soccer Hall of Fame

Atlanta United’s Academy Director Tony Annan received one of the highest possible honors, being named into the Georgia Soccer Hall of Fame for his contributions to the growth of the game on the grassroots level. On top of Atlanta United Academy’s incredible growth and national title in its early existence, Annan was also the founder of the Georgia United Development Academy program as well as scouting and coaching with the US Soccer Federation. In all, a deserved recognition for one of the key drivers of growth in the youth game in Georgia for the past two decades.

Will Vint, George Campbell pro debuts

Of course the Atlanta United Academy’s primary goal is preparing young athletes for the next level, and two more graduates got their first taste of professional minutes this month. Atlanta United defender George Campbell was named Man of the Match in his debut match for ATL UTD 2 in the USL Season opener, while midfielder Will Vint has shown his class on the ball in substitute appearances so far. ATL UTD 2 continues to be a vital step for young players as they try to reach the professional level.

Andrew Carleton scores for US U-20’s

The U-20 World Cup is less than two months away, and one of Atlanta United’s Academy prospects is making a strong case for his inclusion in the final squad. Andrew Carleton was called up for a series of friendlies in Spain, and surely made an impression. He nearly scored in a substitute appearance in the team’s comeback 2-2 draw against France, a long-range free kick that was barely clawed away by the opposing ‘keeper. But the goalkeeper couldn’t keep out his effort in the following match, as he opened the scoring in an impressive 2-0 win over a strong Japan side.

9 U-14 players called to U.S. Camp

One of the most exciting developments in the Academy is happening in the lower ranks, where there are young athletes who are spending their entire formative years under top-notch guidance. And it’s paying off at the national level, where nine Atlanta United Academy players were called into the latest U-14 Youth National Team Camp:

Goalkeepers: Elijah Buford
Defenders: Mathieu Brick, Remi Okunlola
Midfielders: Alan Carleton, Johann Chirinos, Jonantan Villal
Forwards: Italo Jenkins, Danial Sebhatu, Ty Wilson

Make no mistake: the future is very bright for the red, black and gold.

U-17, U-19 SunTrust Life Skills Seminar

Fostering the growth of young athletes is just one part of the mission of the Atlanta United Academy; helping develop well-rounded adults off the field is just as important. In partnership with SunTrust, the Academy held a life skills seminar in which former Atlanta Brave Greg McMichael and ATL UTD 2 captain Jack Metcalf gave our U-17 and U-19 squads advice about financial management, so they can be prepared for life both on and off the field.

Patterson Cup

Looking ahead, next on the calendar for the Atlanta United Academy U-12 teams is a trip to Kansas, where they will feature in the inaugural Patterson Cup. Named after the former co-owner of Sporting Kansas City, it’s part of a league-wide initiative to give more opportunities to young players to face elite competition. Six MLS teams in total will be in attendance, including the Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC, alongside Atlanta United and the hosts Sporting KC. The tournament kicks off this weekend, stay tuned to the Atlanta United Academy social media channels for results from the tournament.

Man City Cup

Last but certainly not least, the U-14’s will be in some elite company later this year after getting invited to the 2019 Nexen Manchester City Cup. The premier youth clubs in MLS, including the LA Galaxy, LAFC,  Sporting Kansas City and NYCFC will be in attendance, alongside Liga MX giants Monterrey, Club America, Chivas and Xolos –– as well as Manchester City and Melbourne City Football Club. Matches will be televised on Univision Deportes and ESPN from May 23rd through May 27th, so stay tuned for that.

Goal of the Month

The Atlanta United Academy had plenty of stunning finishes this month, but Dylan Gaither's top-corner free kick blast against the Orlando City U-19 squad takes the cake.