Look around at Atlanta United’s senior team and it is filled with youth and talent. When you dig deeper, you discover even more untapped potential that is literally all over the place. Now, at this point I will allow you a brief moment to say a quick prayer for the rest of the MLS, because in about 4-5 years, Atlanta will attempt a takeover of the MLS and hopefully bring some silverware back to Atlanta.
Now, there are plenty of people that are set up to, (I’m so sorry), make Atlanta sports great again. Youth is easy to find in soccer, but talent in that youth is difficult to find.
You hear about the other youth teams in the MLS, with the likes of loaded Dallas and Orlando City, but it’s time Atlanta deserves some recognition for the things on the come up.
When AUFC was founded, Carlos Bocanegra and Darren Eales made a priority to start the youth academy up as fast as possible. When this whole process started, AUFC found some key players that for sure have a role in the club’s future. You might want to remember these names.
Andrew Carleton- Midfielder, 16 Y/O
Carleton made his senior team debut 2 matches ago in the 4-1 thumping of the Houston Dynamo. While 6 minutes is hardly enough time to analyze how he did in his debut, there are countless minutes with the USMNT that show some serious promise for his future. Here is his highlight reel.
Chris Goslin- Midfielder, also, 16 Y/O
Goslin plays like a Kellyn Acosta, basically a rock for the youth team. Goslin now plays for the Charleston Battery, the USL affiliate of Atlanta United. (Goslin is one of several United players on loan with Charleston.) He also makes appearances with the U-16 USMNT.
Goslin is another piece in this bright future of Atlanta United.
Lagos Kunga- Forward, 18 Y/O
For some reason, Lagos falls beneath the cracks of all the youth talent. This is mainly because his road to such prominence is one of trials. Kunga was born in Angola, then moved to Russia, which then led to his move to Clarkston, Georgia, a place for refugees from war-torn countries to live in and be in a safe place. Lagos Kunga truly represents what hard work and grit are all about. Kunga has been with the USMNT past few weeks, and has scored once in the U-20 world cup.
Brandon Vazquez, Forward, 18 Y/O
Vazquez has already made an impact for this year’s squad, scoring a goal in the final minute of stoppage time in the Five Stripes’ match against Real Salt Lake. Vazquez is another one that falls beneath the cracks, mainly because Carleton and Goslin take up most of the spotlight. Vazquez was acquired from Club Tijuana as the 9th official player (and the 4th teenager) to sign for the club.
Julian Gressel, Midfielder, 23 Y/O
Julian Gressel (A.K.A. Gresselmania) has already made an impact for Atlanta United, starting a fair number of matches for the team. He’s scored twice, and also notched a few assists. Gressel was drafted out of Providence in this past year’s MLS Superdraft. Gressel is making a serious run for a possible Rookie of The Year spot. He’s lately been filling in at the RW spot for Tito Villalba, who has been replacing the injured Josef Martinez. Here are some of his college highlights.
There are plenty more to talk about, what with the likes of Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron, Tito Villalba, hopefully Yamil Asad, Jeremy Otoo, Zyen Jones, and Miles Robinson. This club may not win MLS Cup after MLS Cup, but these guys will surely make a run in the near future. Be very afraid MLS, be very afraid.