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Youth Soccer News: Atlanta Fire United Joins USL Next Generation Series
Georgia-based powerhouse dedicated to development
United Soccer Leagues (USL) announced today that Atlanta Fire United(AFU) has been accepted into the Next Generation Series (NGS). The Georgia-based youth powerhouse is the latest addition to the innovative, comprehensive, and unique development program engineered by USL and IMG Academy.
AFU was formed 32 years ago with a focus on creating a family-friendly atmosphere to encourage the local youth to learn the sport of soccer. Atlanta Fire United is now churning out some of the top talent in the southeast and the Next Gen Series will further establish the club as one of the nation’s best. During the past two seasons Atlanta Fire United has qualified eight teams for the Super Y-League North American Finals, with two of the teams taking home the title.
“The emphasis at our younger age groups is to teach them how to play before we teach them to compete,” Atlanta Fire United Director of Operations Mark Mackain said. “We would rather lose by four goals while learning to play from the back than to win by a toe ball from midfield. The NGS is targeting clubs with similar philosophies and expectations making games more enjoyable to coach, play and watch. Player development is achieved at the club level, however we believe it’s sustained with meaningful games against quality competition at the league level.”
“Atlanta Fire United is a big club, and we are pleased to have accepted them into the Next Generation Series,” former Major League Soccer(MLS) player and NGS Director Abe Thompson said. “Their players will have the unique experience of being part of an elite competition while benefitting from the facilities and expertise available at IMG Academy all of which will foster the development and education of the players, helping them progress to levels beyond youth soccer.”
Featuring a defined regimen of training, competition, testing, and evaluation, NGS was established to provide players, coaches and clubs the opportunity to take part in an eight month, elite-level league designed to develop the complete elite youth soccer player.
“This series starts at the grassroots level and provides players an opportunity to develop a great foundation to the game,” IMG Academy Director of Soccer Scott Dean said. “With the growth of the league over time to have a national presence we see this as an opportunity to take a major role in the development of world-class players. This will be the first developmental platform that truly emphasizes the development of the soccer player.”
AFU will begin competition in the Next Gen Series in August 2013. The format will consist of U12 and U14 boys and girls teams participating in an eight-month season culminating in April that will feature two evaluation/competition events at IMG. Top players will be identified through the NGS Player Tracking Program and invited to attend the NGS ID Training Camp at IMG.
More than just another youth soccer league, NGS features a forward-looking, innovative, comprehensive, and unique development program built on the repeated and consistent message received from top youth soccer clubs and coaches that they were seeking a fresh development initiative specifically geared toward younger teams and players. NGS was launched to fill the void by providing a comprehensive platform for clubs to best prepare their young players for the challenges which await them at the next level.
Atlanta Fire United’s Academy Program, which fields teams in the U9 through U12 age groups, is rooted in the same axiom. The Academy’s philosophy is one of playing to learn, minimizing the intense pressure to win. This philosophy transcends every training session and match. The system then allows players to move onto the Select Program geared toward developing players in a challenging soccer environment as they grow with the game.
“Our long-term goal is to develop and maintain a deeper, broader pool of talented players,” continued Mackain. “We are working with the NGS to better educate families with classroom and on-field workshops, evaluation tools which track physical and technical progress on a national scope and an unbiased nonpolitical player identification process for our national team programs.”
The world’s largest and most advanced multi-sport training and education complex, IMG Academy hosted myriad soccer team training camps in 2012, including clubs such as the Seattle SoundersD.C. UnitedColumbus Crew, Sweden’s Malmö FF, as well as the U.S. Women’s National Team preparing for the London Olympic Games and the Antigua & Barbuda Men’s National Team preparing for FIFA World 

Youth Soccer News: Atlanta Fire United Joins USL Next Generation Series
Georgia-based powerhouse dedicated to development
United Soccer Leagues (USL) announced today that Atlanta Fire United(AFU) has been accepted into the Next Generation Series (NGS). The Georgia-based youth powerhouse is the latest addition to the innovative, comprehensive, and unique development program engineered by USL and IMG Academy.
AFU was formed 32 years ago with a focus on creating a family-friendly atmosphere to encourage the local youth to learn the sport of soccer. Atlanta Fire United is now churning out some of the top talent in the southeast and the Next Gen Series will further establish the club as one of the nation’s best. During the past two seasons Atlanta Fire United has qualified eight teams for the Super Y-League North American Finals, with two of the teams taking home the title.
“The emphasis at our younger age groups is to teach them how to play before we teach them to compete,” Atlanta Fire United Director of Operations Mark Mackain said. “We would rather lose by four goals while learning to play from the back than to win by a toe ball from midfield. The NGS is targeting clubs with similar philosophies and expectations making games more enjoyable to coach, play and watch. Player development is achieved at the club level, however we believe it’s sustained with meaningful games against quality competition at the league level.”
“Atlanta Fire United is a big club, and we are pleased to have accepted them into the Next Generation Series,” former Major League Soccer(MLS) player and NGS Director Abe Thompson said. “Their players will have the unique experience of being part of an elite competition while benefitting from the facilities and expertise available at IMG Academy all of which will foster the development and education of the players, helping them progress to levels beyond youth soccer.”
Featuring a defined regimen of training, competition, testing, and evaluation, NGS was established to provide players, coaches and clubs the opportunity to take part in an eight month, elite-level league designed to develop the complete elite youth soccer player.
“This series starts at the grassroots level and provides players an opportunity to develop a great foundation to the game,” IMG Academy Director of Soccer Scott Dean said. “With the growth of the league over time to have a national presence we see this as an opportunity to take a major role in the development of world-class players. This will be the first developmental platform that truly emphasizes the development of the soccer player.”
AFU will begin competition in the Next Gen Series in August 2013. The format will consist of U12 and U14 boys and girls teams participating in an eight-month season culminating in April that will feature two evaluation/competition events at IMG. Top players will be identified through the NGS Player Tracking Program and invited to attend the NGS ID Training Camp at IMG.
More than just another youth soccer league, NGS features a forward-looking, innovative, comprehensive, and unique development program built on the repeated and consistent message received from top youth soccer clubs and coaches that they were seeking a fresh development initiative specifically geared toward younger teams and players. NGS was launched to fill the void by providing a comprehensive platform for clubs to best prepare their young players for the challenges which await them at the next level.
Atlanta Fire United’s Academy Program, which fields teams in the U9 through U12 age groups, is rooted in the same axiom. The Academy’s philosophy is one of playing to learn, minimizing the intense pressure to win. This philosophy transcends every training session and match. The system then allows players to move onto the Select Program geared toward developing players in a challenging soccer environment as they grow with the game.
“Our long-term goal is to develop and maintain a deeper, broader pool of talented players,” continued Mackain. “We are working with the NGS to better educate families with classroom and on-field workshops, evaluation tools which track physical and technical progress on a national scope and an unbiased nonpolitical player identification process for our national team programs.”
The world’s largest and most advanced multi-sport training and education complex, IMG Academy hosted myriad soccer team training camps in 2012, including clubs such as the Seattle SoundersD.C. UnitedColumbus Crew, Sweden’s Malmö FF, as well as the U.S. Women’s National Team preparing for the London Olympic Games and the Antigua & Barbuda Men’s National Team preparing for FIFA World Cup qualifying.
To learn more about the Next Gen Series please visit www.NGSsoccer.com.
Next Generation Series: The NGS is an exciting, new youth soccer initiative undertaken by USL and IMG Academy, established to provide clubs the opportunity to take part in an elite-level league for U12 and U14 boys and girls. The NGS will take a developmental approach which engages the player, coach, and parent, while facilitating player growth across 10 important disciplines. These disciplines will be conducted by world-renowned experts in their respective areas of performance, and will include Ignite360 athletic assessment, physical and mental conditioning, technical skill development, tactical development, and vision development; as well as instruction about nutrition, leadership, on-field communication, and injury prevention. Teams will participate in an eight-month season featuring two evaluation/competition events at IMG, and top players will be identified through the NGS Player Tracking Program and invited to attend the NGS ID Training Camp at IMG.

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