Atlanta United announced today that it has appointed Matt Lawrey as its new Youth Academy Director. The departure of long-time director Tony Annan left a big hole in the club’s youth setup, but they wasted very little time in finding a replacement from within.
“Matt has played an integral role in our Academy’s success over the last five years and has a thorough understanding of our program and it’s direction,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “He has more than 10 years of managerial experience in youth soccer and has emerged as a real leader in our academy structure. We’re confident in his ability to make a seamless transition to this role.”
Lawrey has been with Atlanta United from the beginning, joining in 2016 from Richmond Strikers, working his way up the ranks. Most recently he has served as Head Coach of the club’s U-19 team. Lawrey played college soccer at the University of Mary Washington where he also served as an assistant coach.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our Academy to continue the hard work and success that Tony Annan has built over the last five years,” Lawrey said. “Our goal is to promote and celebrate the top young players in the Southeast, as well as help grow the game in Atlanta and the surrounding communities. Tony has set us up to succeed. Our staff is ready to continue his hard work.”
The club’s youth program is in very good shape after just six years. It has produced double digit Homegrown signings for the first team and even has seen one of its graduates, George Bello, appear for the U.S. men’s national team. Lawrey’s goal will be to continue the program on its intended course of developing future first team players for the long haul.