Atlanta United hosted top MLS academy coaches in a training partnership with the French Football Federation.
The partnership is part of a larger program that offers one coach from each MLS club the chance to travel around the country learning from top coaches from the FFF with the end goal of attaining their Elite Formation Coaching License (EFCL).
The youth development course begins with two weeks in France then shifts to the U.S. and transitions from various venues across the country. This month Atlanta United were designated as hosts. Since AUFC is in the process of launching their academy, the team asked Georgia United to host the event at their training fields and use their U-14 and U-16 players as models and practice squads for the techniques and philosophies being taught.
Dirty South Soccer spoke with Georgia United technical director Tony Annan about the event and he revealed that his group of players that trained in front of both the FFF and MLS academy coaches left everyone impressed.
"They were really, really impressed with the kid's attitudes, their professional approach, their work rate, their technical ability. They were really, really happy with them. So, it was a good week. The kids did really well." Annan told DSS in a phone interview.
This unique program is designed to teach all the clubs around MLS a new philosophy and mindset that has made France's youth development so strong over the past years. The program is aligned with MLS' determination to become a top league in the world and current youth development goals. Having every club represented in this program signifies the hope that they acquire the knowledge being offered to them and take it back with them to teach to their own staffs.
The approach taught by the FFF staff is completely unique to an anything taught in America explains Annan.
"It's a completely different way of learning. It's a different approach that I've ever seen," Annan said. "It's hard work. It's a lot different. It comes from a different angle altogether. If you want to evolve as a coach you have to keep on learning different methodologies and different approaches to the game. It's been a great experience so far."
Atlanta United will begin participating in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy in August and will be building teams within the U-12, U-13, U-14, U-16, and U-18 age groups this year. Participating in this program and learning as many new philosophies as possible can only help their academy in the long run.