Pictured above (L to R): Atlanta United 2’s Head Coach Scott Donnelly, Atlanta United President Darren Eales Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash and Gwinnett Sports Commission Executive Director Stan Hall
The United Soccer League has welcomed a new addition to the league for the 2018 season, which will be owned and operated by Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer (MLS). ATL UTD 2 will compete at Coolray Field, in Lawrenceville, which will have a soccer capacity of 10,427 (click here to see how they plan to make the field soccer ready).
The new team was formally introduced to Gwinnett County at a press conference on Monday, Feb. 26, at Infinite Energy Center. In attendance to kick off the exciting news was Atlanta United President Darren Eales, Atlanta United 2’s Head Coach Scott Donnelly, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Chairman Charlotte Nash and Gwinnett Sports Commission Executive Director Stan Hall.
Atlanta United has set records in its first year in MLS, reaching the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs under the leadership of renowned Head Coach Tata Martino and welcoming more than 800,000 fans – a first for Major League Soccer – during the 2017 MLS regular season.
The club has also established a strong Academy system that included three players that featured in the recent 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup in goalkeeper Justin Garces, midfielder Chris Goslin, and forward Andrew Carleton. Both Goslin and Carleton competed on loan for the Charleston Battery over the past two seasons, as did U.S. U20 international Lagos Kunga under the partnership between the two clubs.
“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.”
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. Placing the team in Gwinnett County, which has an estimated population of 907,135, the league will add to its growing footprint of regional rivalries across the Southeast of the United States.
“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.”