Atlanta United announced today it has named Matt Lawrey Academy Director, replacing Tony Annan. Lawrey originally joined the Academy for its inaugural season in July of 2016 as head coach of the U-12s, before being promoted to the U-15s (2017) and U-19s (2020). He’s also served as Academy Manager since January of 2019. Lawrey will oversee soccer operations for each of the Academy teams and ATL UTD 2. Lawrey will conduct an introductory press conference at 9:30 a.m. See below for details.
“Matt has played an integral role in our Academy’s success over the last five years and has a thorough understanding of our program and it’s direction,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “He has more than 10 years of managerial experience in youth soccer and has emerged as a real leader in our academy structure. We’re confident in his ability to make a seamless transition to this role.”
Lawrey joined Atlanta United in July of 2016 from the Richmond Strikers. In addition to his duties as Academy Manager, he’s also served as the U-19s head coach since November of 2020. He originally joined as U-12s head coach for the 2016-17 season and was promoted to U-15s head coach the following season. He took over U-19s in November of 2020 and also served as interim ATL UTD 2 assistant coach during the 2020 USL season. He played collegiately at the University of Mary Washington (2006-10) where he went on to serve as Assistant Coach for the men’s soccer program (2011-12). Lawrey also served as youth coach at Stafford Soccer Club and Prince William Soccer Inc. in Virginia and was voted Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Goal National Coach of the Year in 2013. Lawrey holds USSF A and EFCL Licenses.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our Academy to continue the hard work and success that Tony Annan has built over the last five years,” Lawrey said. “Our goal is to promote and celebrate the top young players in the Southeast, as well as help grow the game in Atlanta and the surrounding communities. Tony has set us up to succeed. Our staff is ready to continue his hard work.”
Atlanta United’s Academy U-13s through U-19s compete in MLS NEXT, the elite youth development platform created by Major League Soccer last August, while the U-12s compete in Southeastern Clubs Champions League (SCCL). Atlanta’s U-19s are currently in first place in the Southeast Division with its final regular season match Sunday, June 6. Lawrey will continue to serve as U-19s head coach through the end of the Academy season.
Zach Herold will take over the U-17s for Jack Collison, who was named ATL UTD 2 head coach on June 3. Herold will also keep his U-16s duties for the remainder of the season. Also on Lawrey’s staff will be Steve Covino (U-15s), Nathan Smith (U-14s), Omar Jarun (U-13s), Kellington Bodie (U-12s) and Lewis Sharpe (goalkeeping coach). Jarun, who will be serving as interim assistant coach for ATL UTD 2, will be aided by Kevin Kratz on the U-13s for the remainder of the season. All MLS Next teams are scheduled to compete in its inaugural postseason at the end of June. For a full list of MLS Next schedules and results, visit here. For a full list of Atlanta United’s Academy technical staff, visit here.
Atlanta United Academy and USL Technical Staff (as of June 4, 2021)
Academy Director: Matt Lawrey
Atlanta United 2 head coach: Jack Collison
U-19s head coach: Matt Lawrey
U-17s head coach: Zach Herold
U-16s head coach: Zach Herold
U-15s head coach: Steve Covino
U-14s head coach: Nathan Smith
U-13s head coach: Omar Juran/Kevin Kratz
U-12s head coach: Kellington Boddie
Goalkeeping coach: Lewis Sharpe