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Harrison Heath aiming to make his own name in Atlanta

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Out of his father’s shadow, the midfielder is excited for the chance to prove himself with United.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Being the son of the manager of the soccer team you play for is never a fun thing. No matter how well you play, there will always be questions of nepotism and/or favoritism. Harrison Heath endured all of that while his father Adrian was in charge of Orlando City.

Eyebrows were raised last week when the junior Heath’s name was rumored to be traded to Atlanta United instead of to Minnesota United where Adrian is currently employed.

Harrison Heath is looking forward to finally stepping out of his father’s shadow to prove he’s earned everything he’s received along the way. He tells FourFourTwo that Atlanta is a chance to earn playing time on his own merit.

“The good thing for me is I’ve got off the shackles of everything else,” Heath said. “The name on the back of my shirt. The history of that at Orlando. That’s all gone now, and it’s just me in Atlanta doing what I do. And if I don’t get playing time it purely comes down to my own performances and I’m completely ready to deal with that because that’s what football is. …

“I look forward to getting there and getting my chance and proving to everybody who has said that I’m in league because of my dad, to prove them wrong. They’re the people that make me want to do it even more.”

Opportunity is something readily available in Atlanta as the expansion club builds a roster from scratch. There will be no existing biases to overcome for Heath or any other player. Playing time will be attainable for any player who earns it.

This is a great chance for Heath, who appeared in only six MLS games in the last two years. It’s up to him to take advantage of it and prove his worth to Tata Martino.