Atlanta United today announced it will provide community clinics through a partnership with Georgia Soccer, which was a recipient of the Innovate to Grow Fund from the U.S. Soccer Federation. With the grant, Atlanta United will provide monthly clinics to Georgia communities that have historically lacked access to the US Youth Soccer system by providing high-level coaching, talent identification and coach education. Atlanta United is the only MLS Club to partner with a federation member in 2020, while Georgia Soccer was one of 27 grantees of the Fund.
“Receiving support from U.S. Soccer through the Innovate to Grow Fund will allow our club to make an even greater impact in the community,” said Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra. “Our Camps and Clinics staff have worked diligently to organize a first-class development program that will provide underserved youth across the state the opportunity to be part of a team. This is part of Atlanta United’s mission to give back to the community while growing the game, and we are delighted to partner with Georgia Soccer on this exciting project.”
Beginning this Spring, Atlanta United coaches will launch programs in three different communities training monthly with the goal of establishing a strong, sustainable and productive development pathway for all levels of youth players in Georgia. All locations will follow the same curriculum based on current U.S. Soccer methodology, which is developmentally appropriate to address level disparities. Once established, the program will scale to two additional communities over the next 12 months.
Additionally, Georgia Soccer will deliver coaching education to coaches within the areas in which the players will be trained. Coaches will have the opportunity to go through the U.S. Soccer Grassroots License, which will connect non-traditional soccer clubs and communities to U.S. Soccer and build on their infrastructure.
The Innovate to Grow Fund was established in 2017 to help U.S. Soccer member organizations launch new and innovative programs designed to grow participation in their markets. In 2019, the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors approved $2.4 million in grants to federation members whose innovative programs show promise in building the sport of soccer at the grassroots level. To be considered for grant funding, members’ proposed programs must meet certain criteria as part of a comprehensive application process.