An area soccer club has partnered with the only team to bring a professional sports championship to Georgia since 1995.
Lake Country United Football Club (Lake Country United FC), based in Eatonton, has been named as a soccer development partner with Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United. The partner program creates a relationship between the professional team and local clubs to foster development of elite players across the state. According to the team’s website, Atlanta United currently has 17 such soccer development partners in place.
Lake Country United FC coaching director Tim Gilbert says this partnership is all about getting a little exposure for his kids.
“At the highest levels of competition in youth soccer, which are the divisions where our kids are playing, the most difficult thing that these kids deal with is becoming visible to college coaches and pro club coaches, which can help advance these player's dreams,” Gilbert said. “That is the case probably no matter where kids are playing. When they're in Atlanta, there's so many players that it's easy to get lost in the numbers. And when you're out in the areas like we live, it's easy to get lost just simply because people don't realize the talent is actually here. Becoming a development partner with a club like Atlanta United, to become an affiliate of theirs, gives these players some additional visibility and some additional opportunities to be seen. Atlanta United will provide opportunities for our teams to potentially play against some of their Academy-age teams, and those are real opportunities where our players can be seen by Atlanta United Academy coaches. Atlanta United also offers opportunities to visit their training ground and join them in training clinics, which are terrific for our players to have a chance to be kicking the ball with Atlanta United Academy players and coaches and again, to be seen and coached and guided by coaches of that caliber. By far, in summary, the most important and significant piece of this, is that it provides one more additional opportunity for our players to be seen by coaches and scouts from the next level up, and many of our players have dreams a playing professional soccer and/or college soccer. Being seen by coaches from this level is a real opportunity, and that's all our guys are looking for, is more opportunities.”
Partner programs get to host combines and talent ID sessions to showcase players for Atlanta United in an effort to continue growing the game across the state. In addition, Lake Country United FC’s crest is already being featured on Atlanta United’s website, ATLUTD.com. Lake Country United FC players and coaches will also receive special ticket promotions throughout the season along with customized match day experiences.