partlycloudy
Thursday November 23rd, 2017 11:57AM

Atlanta United announces plans to launch 2018 USL expansion team

By AccessWDUN Staff

ATLANTA — Atlanta United today announced plans to own and operate a second-division team that will join the United Soccer League (USL) for the 2018 season. The club’s name and crest will be released in the coming months.

“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,” Atlanta United President Darren Eales said. “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. We also want to thank Charleston Battery for being fantastic partners over the last two years. The Battery are a first-class organization and we’ll continue to maintain a professional working relationship with the club.”

USL, which will enter its eighth season in 2018, has been a partner of Major League Soccer (MLS) since 2013. It is one of the largest professional soccer leagues in the world, with more than 30 teams across the United States and Canada.

“Atlanta United’s organization has quickly proven itself among the leaders in Major League Soccer, and we are delighted to welcome them to our already world-class ownership groups that make up the USL,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “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.”

The USL team will provide the Atlanta United First Team with both short-term and long-term benefits, namely by continuing the pathway to the professional level for Atlanta United Academy players and the opportunity for First Team players to receive playing time on loan. Atlanta United’s current roster has 12 players with USL experience, in addition to three players who will join the team effective Jan. 1, 2018 (Lagos Kunga, George Bello and Patrick Okonkwo).

Open tryouts for the new USL team will be held on Saturday, Dec. 16 at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta as part the American Family Dream Tryout series. Additional information for the event can be found at atlutd.com/dreamtryouts.

Atlanta’s USL team will train alongside the Atlanta United First Team and Academy teams at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground, while the team will play its home matches at Coolray Field, the home of the International League’s Gwinnett Braves. Coolray Field opened in 2008 and will have a soccer capacity of 10,427. Ticket information will be announced at a later date.

“The Gwinnett Sports Commission is extremely excited to have Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United organization, via the USL, join our existing professional sports franchises in Gwinnett,” GSC Executive Director Stan Hall said.  “Obviously, AMB Sports & Entertainment brings a level of professionalism and credibility that is second to none in the professional sports arena. Gwinnett has long been a soccer stronghold, and we expect great success as the USL and professional soccer is introduced to our area and our fans. Coolray Field and its great staff enjoys a reputation of excellence among sports venues across the country and it will provide an excellent and fitting backdrop to this new team.”

Atlanta United’s new USL club will join the previously announced Fresno FC, Las Vegas Lights FC and Nashville SC making their debut in the 2018 regular season.

© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Atlanta United announces plans to launch 2018 USL expansion team
Atlanta United today announced plans to own and operate a second-division team that will join the United Soccer League (USL) for the 2018 season. The club’s name and crest will be released in the coming months.
3:48PM ( 4 minutes ago )
The 2016-17 hoops campaign will be a hard act to follow
Just how good was prep basketball in the northeast Georgia area in the 2016-17 campaign?
2:08PM ( 1 hour ago )
PODCAST: Hard Left Turn with Brandon Reed and Katie B. (11-14-17)
Matt Kenseth was the big winner when the checkered flag flew at Phoenix on Sunday, but Brad Keselowski earned a win as well, earning a spot in the Cup Championship at Homestead-Miami via points. In this week's edition of the Hard Left Turn podcast, Brandon Reed and Katie B. discuss Kenseth and Keselowski's wins and what it says about the state of Hendrick Motorsports that no drivers qualified to run for the Cup Championship.
11:50AM ( 4 hours ago )
Sports
Watson could lead NFL All-Star team of injured
The NFL's all-injury team may be better than the All-Pro team this season...
7:30PM ( 3 days ago )
Cowboys forced to take on Falcons without Ezekiel Elliott
The Dallas Cowboys' enviable running back depth will be tested, as will their three-game winning streak, when they figure to face the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday without Ezekiel Elliott...
8:08PM ( 4 days ago )
Falcons only .500 at midpoint, say confidence unshaken
Falcons players are guarded against letting four losses in their last five games rattle their confidence...
7:06AM ( 5 days ago )
Professional Sports
Atlanta United’s Julian Gressel named MLS Rookie of the Year
Atlanta United midfielder Julian Gressel has been named the 2017 AT&T Rookie of the Year, Major League Soccer announced today.
By AccessWDUN Staff
2:29PM ( 6 days ago )
Atlanta becomes US soccer's new hotbed, but will it last?
The cheer begins slowly, rhythmically — everyone raising their hands above their heads, clapping in sync to the beat of the drum, screaming in unison and picking up speed with each chant.
By The Associated Press
1:55AM ( 2 weeks ago )
Atlanta United, Mercedes Benz awarded 2018 MLS All-Star game
MLS today announced that Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the home of Atlanta United, will be the site of the 2018 MLS All-Star Game...
By AccessWDUN Staff
4:28PM ( 3 weeks ago )
US Soccer: Trump encouraging a World Cup with Mexico, Canada
Far from impeding a World Cup bid, souring diplomatic relations between the United States and Mexico emboldened those country's soccer leaders to find common ground through pursing one of the biggest events in sports.
By The Associated Press
8:45PM ( 7 months ago )
(VIDEO) Atlanta United lifts rafters, makes history but opens with 2-1 loss
From the moment Yamil Asad stabbed the ball into the back of the net and Bobby Dodd Stadium threatened to crumble under the weight of celebrations it looked as if Atlanta United was on course for a thrilling beginning to their history as a franchise.
11:55AM ( 8 months ago )