Happy Thanksgiving, Dirty South Soccer readers. On this holiday of delicious food and reflection, we thought it would be fun to think about all the things Atlanta United fans have to be thankful for as we inch ever so closer to the 2017 MLS season.
A Dope Home Kit
Don’t pay attention to the haters (Hi, Red Bulls fans...), the Atlanta United home kit is fantastic. It’s exactly what we were promised and is a great representation of our new club. You should be proud to wear it and show the world who you support. It’s classy and elegant while still looking pretty modern.
Just look at that beauty. Maybe you have a few minor gripes like the stripes not being on the back or whatever, but once you look past that, it’s a great shirt and something we can all be proud of.
World-Class Management and Front Office
In MLS, so much of the way a team is built and managed comes down to the brass. The owner, GM/Technical Director, and whoever have so much say in how the team is built. Thankfully, Atlanta United are top notch in all of these departments.
Arthur Blank has put his heart and soul (and checkbook) into building this club from scratch. Perhaps the best move he’s made so far is hiring Darren Eales as the president.
Eales has brought his vast experience and knowledge from his time in the Premier League and hit the ground running. He found a high profile manager in Tata Martino and has already begun building the roster. Alongside Carlos Bocanegra and Paul McDonough, there’s no reason to believe they won’t assemble a competitive roster for 2017.
Atlanta United’s first team haven’t played a match yet and already the club are one of the best in MLS at the Academy level. To call them the best Academy in MLS would be a little overstated. FC Dallas, LA Galaxy, and New York Redbulls all have elite Academies, but Atlanta United are entering the conversation. The U-16’s and U-18’s are still undefeated in their first ever U.S. Soccer Development Academy seasons, halfway through.
Couple the on-field success with the Training Ground that will house the full Academy, it’s clear that Blank is investing heavily in the youth side of the game. That can only mean great things for the future.
FIFA’s Dumb Rules
FIFA’s international transfer rules have already helped Atlanta United more than you probably realize. Without a passport, youth players cannot sign outside of their country of birth until they reach 18 years old. This rule has allowed the club to secure the signatures of Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin as Homegrown players.
We cannot say for certain that these two talented U.S. youth internationals wouldn’t have signed for the club regardless of the rules, but both could have played in Europe if they weren’t in place and there’s a good chance that would’ve happened.
Thankfully, we get them for at least a couple of years and hopefully for a lot more.
Barcelona -> Argentina NT -> Atlanta United
That’s all that needs to be said. We have a legitimate world-class manager with experience and success for days. He has basically a clean slate, a blank check (literally and figuratively), and a huge Rolodex of European and South American names to contact to help fill the roster. The sky is the limit for him and Atlanta United. Get freaking hyped.