Early in the first half of Atlanta United 2’s match against the Charleston Battery, a very animated conversation broke out among two players donning the Five Stripes. Yosef Samuel, one of Atlanta’s USL signings, passed the ball to his intended target just a split second too late, leading to a counterattacking opportunity for Charleston. His intended target, desperate to receive the ball back quickly after his initial pass and overlap of Samuel, was initially frustrated. However, the 16-year-old George Bello was quick to pick his head back up and express his desire for a quicker ball to be played next time.
It’s not often that a player of Bello’s age is an effective communicator with older teammates. However, his confidence to do so is just one of the attributes that makes the Douglasville native one of the most promising players at the club.
“I try to make sure I’m there and let my teammates know I’m there,” said Bello to reporters on Tuesday morning. “You want to be loud and encourage your teammates. You don’t want to be the quiet one that doesn’t contribute to the team’s communication.”
With the absence of Mikey Ambrose, Greg Garza, and Sal Zizzo all due to injury, Bello’s path to first team minutes became a whole lot more straightforward over the past couple of weeks. For most teams, there would be an obvious hesitation to consider playing a 16-year-old even with a plethora of injuries. However, Tata Martino included Bello in the team that faced Toronto FC last match. Now the 2017 USSDA Player of the Year is hungry for more.
“I feel ready. I’m ready right now. I’m ready whenever my opportunity comes, so I’ll keep on playing, progressing, and improving myself.”
However, don’t expect him to be too emotional about his first appearance for the senior team once the day comes. Bello was asked if he’ll keep anything to remind him of the game.
“(The game) will always stay in my memories and my brain.”