Atlanta United announced yesterday that they have continued their USL affiliation with the Charleston Battery for 2017. In the long term, the question is whether that sort of affiliation agreement is the best option for the club, or if they should follow the route of other MLS teams and start their own USL team.
As Atlanta explores this option, they have to consider both the expectations of their academy and the long term development of their players. The sheer quality of their academy program so far would lead you to believe that they will be producing more professional players than they have spots for in the first team lineup and roster. Having their own USL club helped the LA Galaxy with this situation, they were able to have Homegrown Players join the Galaxy II to develop and they were even able to sign some players directly to the USL club to start their professional career.
As long as the affiliate understands that this is coming, a relationship can work. In Charleston, Atlanta has a partner with decades of experience. The Battery started in 1993 and are one of the most stable clubs in the USL due to owning their stadium and the significant roots they have placed down in their city. In going with the affiliate route, it’s unlikely that Atlanta United could have found a more suitable partner than the Battery.
With so many things on Atlanta United’s plate in launching their club, operating a USL team is low on the priority list. It is even lower when you have the ability to choose such a strong partner like Charleston. Over time, we will see if those priorities change and if Atlanta gets into the USL game.
Do you think Atlanta needs its own USL club? Let us know in the comments.
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