New Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer was introduced to the local media on Monday. The Dutchman ran through many different topics about his past, present and future. You can watch the full press conference below:
One area of mention that got fans and media to take note was when the idea of youth development was addressed. It’s no secret that bringing young players along and turning them into productive pros was a big part of de Boer’s success at Ajax. He brought along players like Christian Eriksen and Jan Vertonghen who went on to become high-priced transfers to the Premier League.
De Boer proclaimed in his introductory press conference that he plans to bring that same philosophy to Atlanta.
“I think this is one of the aspects for why they chose me [to manage Atlanta United],” de Boer told reporters. “Of course I had that relationship at Ajax with the academy and they want me to have that here. The performance of the first team is most important but I will not hesitate to play young players. When you are young and you are ready, I will not hesitate to put you in the first team.”
Atlanta United have talked about youth development being a core value since before their first season. Under Tata Martino that philosophy may have not been as in the spotlight as it became apparent that short term success was vital for him. It’s now a change of regime and a chance to implement that vision. De Boer is saying the right things to make this happen. With young Homegrown Players (Carleton, Goslin, Kunga, Okonkwo, Bello) and draft picks already under contract it’s time for those words to turn into action.
It will be a long season full of fixtures from three different competitions. There will be plenty of minutes to go around. We should get to see just how this philosophy will be implemented sooner rather than later.