Much of the focus on Atlanta United’s academy has focused on producing players for the first team and a professional career. It is easy to forget how the academy plays a role in producing players for the college game as well. Atlanta United’s U18 squad, one of the strongest this season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, will be sending quite a few players to college soccer next season.
Keep in mind that Atlanta United will be able to keep the Homegrown Player rights to these players while they are in college. Ian Harkes finished his four year career at Wake Forest this year before signing a Homegrown Player contract with DC United. Some players need that additional development, both on and off the field, that the college game can provide.
A few other players are still undecided and will be announcing their commitments at a later date.
Machop Chol- Wake Forest University
Chol has been one of my favorite players to watch in Atlanta United’s academy this season, his dribbling and creativity on the wing has been very effective. He will be headed to Winston-Salem to join the national runners-up.
Michael Ille- Clemson University
Ille is participating in Atlanta United’s preseason training right now at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The left winger has been earning more attention as the season has progressed, committing to Clemson back in August and will be joining the U.S. U19 national team camp in February.
Lagos Kunga- Furman University
Kunga is also participating in Atlanta United’s preseason training in Bradenton currently and will be joining Ille at the U.S. U19 training camp later this month. He committed to Furman a while back, and Top Drawer Soccer has him in their top seven freshmen likely to make an immediate impact. He can play on the wing, a playmaker, or as a second forward.
Sam Morton- Princeton University
The goalkeeper will be heading to the Ivy League and Princeton in the fall. He was part of Georgia United prior to joining Atlanta United this season.
Kareve Richards- Mercer University
Richards is a right back who formerly played with the Kalonji Soccer Academy before joining Atlanta United this year. He will be heading to Macon in the fall to represent the Bears.
Bryce Washington- Rutgers University
Washington has been a standout at center back for Atlanta United this season, leading one of the best defenses in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. He will be joining Rutgers in the Big Ten in the fall and is one to watch for future development.