Payers who start their careers at an early age can be beneficial for any sports team. Seeing athletes grow from young and inexperienced players to mature and skilled stars is a great process to see for fans and clubs. The Atlanta United has a few promising young players, and one of them is George Bello. Witnessing Bello’s impressive performance in the last game, it seems like the 18-year old is showing promise to become a constant figure on the team. The left-back showed his potential and talent in their victory over Nashville.
The future is indeed bright, and the sky’s the limit for this young full-back. Let’s take a look at his story.
Born with the Love of Soccer
George is named after his grandfather, Georgie Bello. Georgie Bello was an amateur soccer player in Nigeria, and his love for the game influenced George to embrace the sport as well. His passion for soccer runs in the Bello blood, and George is hoping to take that passion to the next level and become a top professional player.
George grew up watching soccer, but he was actually a Track and Field athlete for most of his high school life. As he transitioned into playing soccer, he idolized Neymar Jr. and Lionel Messi, but he had aspirations of becoming a top left-back, so he studied the playing styles of Marcelo and David Alaba.
Early Signs of Greatness
Bello started his soccer development with Southern Star Academy, an academy affiliated with the English club Chelsea – one of the Premier League’s top teams. In 2011, he moved to the Alpharetta Ambush and spent five years there before moving to the Atlanta United academy together with now academy director Tony Annan.
In his first season with the academy, Bello helped the U15/16 win the Soccer Development Academy U16 Championship. His performance was the key reason for their success. He was named U15/16 Eastern Conference Player of the Year and chosen as one of the best XI.
Professional and International Excellence
This young star showed his incredible talent not only on his club but also for the national team, showcasing why he was regarded as a top emerging talent. Bello was called up by the U-15 and U-17 national team. With the U-15, they were able to win the Torneo Delle Nazioni in 2017, and every game that Bello started in resulted in victory. At the mere age of 16, he exhibited incredible progression in his game. It’s rare to see a 16-year-old being trusted to play at the professional level, but Bello is definitely not the typical player—he is a cut from a different cloth.
In 2018, Bello was signed to a homegrown contract with Atlanta United. He started out on the development side, Atlanta United 2, where he made his debut on March 31, 2018. By September 2, 2018, Bello made his professional debut in the MLS, as a substitute in a 3-1 loss to D.C. United. A month later, he scored his first professional goal on October 6, 2018.
His performance against Nashville gave us a glimpse of what he can become as a player. He was praised for his performance by veteran Brad Guzan and coach Stephen Glass. In that game, he led the team in chances created (2), tackles (2), and completed 92% of his passes. He also showcased an incredible work ethic by tracking back and stopping crucial counter attacks.
While he has a lot to improve on, we are seeing the beginning of what can be a legendary career. George Bello is flying high, and it looks like he doesn’t want to stop anytime soon.