The Atlanta United first team may dominate the headlines, but the future of the club is hard at work as always honing their skills to be ready for the pro ranks. Here’s the latest from the Atlanta United Academy this month:
Generation Adidas Cup
One of the premier youth tournaments in America just went down over the weekend, and Atlanta United came out with three wins on the weekend, all over international competition in the U-17 division. Perhaps the story of the weekend was the play of goalkeeper Marzuq Puckerin. After showing impressive poise and shot-stopping abilities all weekend long, he put an exclamation point on the performance with a stunning penalty kick save to clinch the win over Ulsan Hyundai. While the U-17 squad fell short of the final rounds of the tournament, it will prove to be valuable experience against top-level competition for the players in this age group.
Academy Director Tony Annan addresses GA Crowd
Another highlight of the Generation Adidas Cup weekend came off the pitch, where Atlanta United Academy Director Tony Annan addressed the coaches in attendance to discuss his philosophy and methodologies when it comes to youth scouting and development. In a wide-ranging conversation lasting nearly an hour, Annan gave incredible access and insight into the team’s process, particularly focusing on Academy graduate George Bello. Click here to watch the whole presentation.
Vicente Reyes punches ticket to U-17 World Cup
Another young player who is catching eyes on the international level is young Vicente Reyes, who has been in South America competing in the South America U-17 Championships. The young goalkeeper –– who has represented the U.S. at the U-16 level –– was representing the country of his heritage, Chile. His team went on to finish in second place in the tournament, only losing to powerhouse Argentina on goal difference. That’s good enough to clinch a spot in in the upcoming U-17 World Cup.
UTD 2 experience showing at Academy level
It’s easy to forget due to the amount of playing time they’re getting at the professional level, but several players with ATL UTD 2 are still young enough to compete with the Academy teams –– and the influence of the USL experience is plain for everyone to see. Jackson Conway scored a hat trick over South Florida powerhouses Weston FC in a USSDA match at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground. The following day it was Will Vint who got on the scoresheet from midfield, scoring in a 4-1 domination of the United Football Academy. It’s a good reminder of the underlying goal of the Academy and its relationship with ATL UTD 2 –– the further development of young players –– and a good sign that it’s paying off for everyone involved.
Next up: South Florida
With Generation Adidias Cup now in the rearview, the Academy’s next challenge is a road trip to a powerhouse of youth development in South Florida. The U-15’s, U-17’s, and U-19’s will all face off against Kendall SC and Weston FC in just a few weeks. Stay tuned to the Atlanta United Academy social channels for all the scores and highlights.