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The Daily Dirt, January 18: Atlanta United academy players in first team preseason

Big investment by the club

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Matt Ralph, Brotherly Game

One of the biggest potential negatives of Atlanta United conducting the first two weeks of their training camp in Bradenton, Florida was losing the interaction between the academy teams and the first team. However, according to Will Parchman, that will not be the case.

It would be one thing if preseason was being conducted at the club’s training facility and the academy kids were already there. In this case, academy players will be brought with the team to Florida to train alongside the professional players. To my knowledge, no MLS team has ever done this sort of thing before on this scale.

These are the types of moves that, while they do not seem like much right now and likely will not result in many Homegrown Signings straight away, create a culture of professional development. The academy players will get a taste of what it means to play for Tata Martino. They will take that level back to their academy training sessions. They will know where they stand with the first team.

The New York Red Bulls are perhaps signaling an intent to play their young players more with the trade of Dax McCarty. This makes room for Homegrown Players Sean Davis and Tyler Adams to see the field. Atlanta United is making a commitment on the other side of the development spectrum, incorporating academy players into first team training camps and sessions as early as possible. These types of moves will better the league in the long run.


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Former Atlanta Silverbacks forward Deon McCaulay scored for Belize in their 3-1 loss to El Salvador: