For those players struggling to find playing time with Atlanta United, the club’s newest outlet for success is a golden opportunity. It isn’t being seen as a “demotion” of any sorts. Ultimately, it’s all about perspective. No one could better express that than homegrown Lagos Kunga.
“I just like to play soccer as much as I can.”
For Kunga, this is the culmination of a long, windy and unusual road to professional soccer.
“If you had told me three or four years ago that this was happening, I would not have believed it. I’ve loved Atlanta ever since I came to the U.S. I’m anxious to play in front of everybody. Every chance I can get on the field is a step closer to the first team.”
The difference between Kunga and other first team players however is that Kunga was largely aware he was destined for ATL UTD 2 this season. How does someone like Oliver Shannon, who made a few appearances for the first team this past preseason, feel about playing with the USL side?
“I’m just excited to play in a competitive game. It’s a big moment for Atlanta and ATL UTD 2. All the guys have been working hard and for us it’s the icing on the cake of a long preseason.”
Miles Robinson had similar sentiments, especially as one of the many players that hasn’t seen competitive minutes yet this season.
“I’m excited. It gives us some good minutes. It’s a mental thing to stay focused every day, but it’s not that big of a deal. I want to come out there with a good performance and hopefully win the first game ever with the reserve team.”
Keep an eye out on Kunga, who says he’ll definitely have something up his sleeve if he were to find the back of the net.
“I’m going to look up some celebrations. I want to do something crazy if I score.”
Atlanta United 2 takes the field for the first time tonight against New York Red Bulls II at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.