Atlanta United‘s inaugural season was a success! But the organization’s plans don’t stop there yet! They recently revealed their plan to continue their growth in 2018.
Excited? Here’s the good news!
The growth that they are talking about in their announcement is the second-division team that they will own and operate. This team will be joining the USL in 2018. However, we’ll still have to wait a few months until the new club’s name and crest are revealed.
The new club will be a great opportunity for the young players who are presently on the ATLUTD roster. Specifically, it’ll give playing time to US U-20 youth internationals Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin and to the three Homegrown Players the club signed earlier this year for the 2018 season: George Bello, Lagos Kunga (also a US U-20 international) and Patrick Okonkwo.
In a team statement, Atlanta United president Darren Eales said, “This is a great opportunity for our club’s long-term success to be able to bridge the gap between our best in class academy and our first team. Establishing a top-level academy was the first priority for our club and while our staff has done a marvelous job in identifying and developing young players, the next step has always been to create the pathway for the 18-to-19-year-old player who needs to continue his development before competing for a starting position at the MLS level. We’ll now have the capability to develop players in our system from the time they’re 12 years-old until the minute they reach the first team.”
Eales also thanked partners like Charleston Battery. “We also want to thank [previous USL affiliate] Charleston Battery for being fantastic partners over the last two years. The Battery is a first-class organization and we’ll continue to maintain a professional working relationship with the club.”
For the past two years, Atlanta United has worked in partnership with the Battery. ATL UTD had seven players that played for the Battery this 2017 season, and Atlanta forward Romario Williams came from the South Carolina side and was able to score 15 goals, tying for the fourth-most in the league.
USL CEO Alec Papadakis is delighted to welcome Atlanta United’s organization as they join USL, the home of world-class ownership groups. Papadakis continues his statement, “The caliber of organization that has been assembled by Arthur Blank and his team has raised the bar for professional soccer in the United States, and their addition to our league is another step toward the USL’s goal of becoming one of the best Division II professional soccer leagues in the world, on par with the English Championship, Liga Adelante and 2. Bundesliga.”
As the Atlanta United joins USL in 2018, the USL team will provide short-term and long-term benefits to the Atlanta United First Team. This will help Atlanta United Academy players continue the pathway to the professional level and will also give First Team players an opportunity to receive playing time on loan.
With the new USL team, it also means there will be tryouts for those who would like to join the team. Tryouts will be held on Saturday, December 16 at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta and will only be one of the American Family Dream Tryout series.
The team will play its home matches at Coolray Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves’ Triple-A affiliate team, the Gwinnett Braves. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s USL team will be training alongside the Atlanta United first and academy teams at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground.
Atlanta United’s new USL club will be joining the debut of the previously announced Fresno FC, Las Vegas Lights FC, and Nashville SC in the 2018 regular season.
To find out more about this story, check out MLS.
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