The World's Game In The Heart of the Sun Belt

Category — youth soccer

Alpharetta Ambush wins USYSA national title

The Alpharetta Ambush cruised to the U.S. Youth Soccer Association’s Under-17 boys national championship last week, dominating both group play and the finals, defeating a St. Louis team 4-1.

The Ambush was the only Georgia team to win a national title this year. GSA’s Phoenix Red team, which also made the boys U-17 field, tied the Ambush 1-1 in group play.

Forward Karl Chester, who is committed to play college soccer at Alabama-Birmingham, scored seven goals during the tournament, which was played in Overland Park, Kan.

Also reaching the nationals were the Concorde Fire Elite (U-13 boys), NASA Elite II (U-16 girls) and AFC Lightning (U-18 girls).

July 27, 2010   273 Comments

Atlanta youth teams shine at USYSA regional

Four Atlanta youth soccer boys teams reached the finals of the U.S. Youth Soccer Association’s Division III championships in Baton Rouge last weekend, with the Alpharetta Ambush defeating Gwinnett Soccer Association’s Phoenix Red in the Under-17 finals.

Also taking home a trophy was the Concorde Fire Under-15 team, while that club’s Under-16 team was defeated in the finals.

Soccer America has all the particulars.

June 25, 2010   7 Comments

Atlanta youth soccer stars in U.S. boys camps

Two top players from Atlanta youth soccer clubs are spending part of their summer in the U.S. Soccer Federation’s boys national team program.

Forward DeAndre Robinson of the Gwinnett Soccer Association is spending this week at the Under 14 Boys National Team camp in New Jersey.

Also in New Jersey is defender Jacob Smith of Concorde Fire South, who is working out with the Under 15 Boys National Team.

In both camps players are participating in regular training sessions while scrimmaging against local clubs.

Smith participated with the U 15s in a previous camp in March in Florida, while Robinson traveled with the U 14s on a trip to Mexico this past spring.

June 16, 2010   104 Comments

Mid-week action slated for Georgia State Cup

Because of last weekend’s rains throughout the metro area, quite a number of matches in the group stages of the Georgia State Cup were postponed.

Games have been rescheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in a total of nine different age groups, boys and girls, with the semifinals and finals for all groups set for Friday through Sunday at McCurry Park in Fayetteville.

Here’s a searchable schedule of games, with updated scores, standings and brackets. Age groups that have already completed group play include semifinal pairings, with game times and field location information.

The Georgia State Cup is the official state championship tournament conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Youth Soccer Association.

June 2, 2010   No Comments

Send us your Atlanta Cup photos!

The Atlanta Cup is over, but the memories will live on. Atlanta Soccer News is inviting parents, players and youth associations to submit photos from the action of one of the largest tournaments in the country.

Please send your photos as .jpg attachments to: and we’ll post them in the coming days. Please identify teams and players and any results of games shown in the photos.

The following shots were taken by yours truly from Monday’s finals at the Metro North fields in Cobb County. We’d love to have yours too!

The Girls Under-11 finals featured North Carolina's Lake Norman Soccer Club 98 Lady Black (light blue) and the winners (in dark blue) from Birmingham United North 99 Girls Blue from Alabama.

The Girls Under-11 finals featured North Carolina's Lake Norman Soccer Club 98 Lady Black (light blue) and the winners (in dark blue) from Birmingham United North 99 Girls Blue in Alabama.

West Georgia FC United 94 Premier (in black) topped Gwinnett Soccer Association 94 Phoenix Red in the Under-16 boys A division finals.

West Georgia FC United 94 Premier (in black) topped Gwinnett Soccer Association 94 Phoenix Red in the Under-16 boys A division finals.

September 7, 2009   No Comments

Atlanta Cup tied to city’s World Cup bid

What’s billed as one of the largest youth tournaments in the United States gets underway all around the metro area Saturday as the Atlanta Cup swings into action through Labor Day.

Here’s the complete schedule of games, venues, teams and other information. More than 600 youth teams will be in action, as well as a handful of women’s teams in the first year that the Atlanta Cup has been open to adult teams.

In addition to being the biggest fundraiser for Georgia Soccer, the Atlanta Cup is an integral part of Atlanta’s bid for a World Cup venue. One of the factors examined by the U.S. Soccer Federation is community support. Picture 4

Georgia Soccer executive director Rick Skirvin said petitions in support of Atlanta’s bid will be available at the Atlanta Cup venues. Players, parents and fans will be encouraged to make videos, among other things, to show their support. Atlanta is one of 27 remaining cities in the mix for inclusion in the USSF’s bid to play host to the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022.

“These efforts will be going on beyond this weekend,” Skirvin said. “It’s a chance to see how strong the local interest is. What is clear is that Atlanta is capable of handling major sporting events. What is unclear is how big a soccer community we have and how far our reach is.”

Georgia Soccer was involved in promotional efforts for the AC Milan-Club América World Football Challenge match at the Georgia Dome that drew 50,000 spectators in July. Like a June match, also at the Dome, that featured Mexico and Venezuela, spectators came from around the state and the Southeast.

Jürgen Maika of the USA Bid Committee said he got “a very good feel and understanding of the city” when visiting during the World Football Challenge, but spoke in general terms about what prospective bidding cities needed to do to show community support. Atlanta’s experience during the so-called “Summer of Soccer” in North America, he said, was not uncommon.

“What we saw in Atlanta is a clear example of what we have seen around the nation,” he said. “There is a passion for the game, greater than what people might imagine. There’s a sense of soccer being elevated to having a much stronger social consciousness in the States. It gives us a sense of relief that we know how to host large events. Our cities are well-prepared for this.”

Maika said another trip to Atlanta is not scheduled before the bid committee pares down its list of potential venues to 18 cities by the end of the year because visits to other sites still need to be made.

September 4, 2009   No Comments

How will movie reflect the ‘Fugees’ experience?

I haven’t spent much time on this site writing about the Clarkston-based Fugees, largely because their story isn’t entirely about soccer, and because others have done such a terrific job on this topic.

The latest comes from Andrew Guest on the Pitch Invasion site, who serves up some sensational background about the forthcoming movie based on Warren St. John’s “Outcasts United” book. But will it tell the deeper story of what these soccer-playing refugee youths symbolize?

“Ultimately, the appeal of stories such as that of soccer amongst refugee children in Clarkston is that simplified versions allow for the comforting validation of our irrational beliefs. We want to believe that the challenges posed by immigration and ‘super-diversity’ are easily solved with a few heroic people and programs. We want to believe that if not for the benevolent intervention of sponsors poor immigrant children would suffer silent lives deprived of play. We want to believe that soccer has a special power to unite people — to bring Landon and Cuauhtémoc together for long slow walks on the beach. For the most part ‘Outcasts United’ makes it clear that it is not that simple.”

August 18, 2009   No Comments

Youth soccer’s dividing line: Club vs. academy

The Washington Post has a lengthy piece on the club vs. academy issue raging in that youth soccer hotbed, and it’s a topic that’s a rather hot one across country.

The U.S. Soccer Federation setting up a development academy that has involved Major League Soccer helped fan the flames of a long divide between the “professional” and “youth” camps in the American soccer structure.

Advocates of the academy system believe that the teaching and mastery of skills aren’t being emphasized enough, and they favor a more vertical system of player development that is common around the world:

“We need to shift the focus of our young elite players from an ‘overburdened, game emphasis’ model to a ‘meaningful training and competition’ model. This will ultimately lead to more success and will allow players to develop to their full potential.”

The speaker there was USSF president Sunil Gulati, whose comments have rankled more than a few defenders of the club approach, and not just because they feel their uniquely American-style autonomy and dominance are being encroached upon:

“I think we all want to push our players on to better environments But the key is, is it a better environment? We’re told it is, but there is nothing being done that proves they are.”

That was an unnamed youth club technical director in the D.C. area. Of course, the academy undertaking is rather new, and it probably will not supplant the established club system that is financed and dictated by highly involved parents.

Earlier this year, Jeff Carlisle of examined the national youth structure in a five-part series that delved heavily into the Development Academy. One of his conclusions isn’t optimistic about this new approach:

“One issue is that kids rarely play soccer outside of a structured setting, meaning the kind of improvisation and experimentation that players develop organically in other countries is tougher to come by in the United States. But that is a cultural obstacle too large for the USSF to influence with one program.”

This is a topic I want to explore further as it pertains to what’s happening on the metro Atlanta scene. How much of a club vs. academy problem is there with your club? How is it affecting your child’s ability not just to play or get noticed by scouts, but simply to enjoy and appreciate the game?

Cobb Futbol’s Jack McInerney, a leading player on the U.S. Under-17 national team, has benefited from both environments, although his time this past year at the USSF’s residency program in Florida certainly has elevated his stock.

Can the long-standing club culture really turn out top-level players with potential for pro and national team careers in a way to advance the American game? Or are young players, especially those at the youngest age groups, better off in a less competitive and results-oriented cocoon, where their skills can be incubated without the constant pressure of winning games?

What do you think?

August 10, 2009   2 Comments

A Dutch treat for Cobb SC’s McInerney

ESPN Soccernet profiles U.S. Under-17 national team and Cobb Soccer Club striker Jack McInerney, whose amazing summer has taken another bright turn. He’s headed to Holland over the weekend for a 12-day tryout with a club he and his mother wouldn’t identify, but that Soccer America claims is Eredivisie side Arnhem Vitesse.

In October, he’ll lead the U-17s into the FIFA Youth World Cup in Nigeria. McInerney, who reported to the U-17 residency program two years ago at 5-foot-6, has grown three inches since then, still small for a forward. But his coach in Bradenton, Wilmer Cabrera, says that in McInerney’s case, size doesn’t matter:

“The great thing about soccer is that you don’t have to be the biggest, fastest or strongest player. Jack is smart and that’s why he finds the goal. He knows what his strengths are, he doesn’t do too much. Jack’s simple and effective, he’s not a showman.”

July 30, 2009   No Comments

Heartbreak for NASA boys, Silverbacks women

Goals near the end of either half sunk the North Atlanta Soccer Association’s Under 19 boys aspirations of a national championship Sunday as the Baltimore Casa Mia Bays claimed a 2-0 victory in the U.S. Youth Soccer Association’s national championships.

And on Friday, the Atlanta Silverbacks women’s playoff hopes came to a controversial end when Charlotte was awarded a late penalty kick to tie the game, then got the winning goal moments later it for a 2-1 win in the W-League Eastern Conference semifinals.

July 27, 2009   No Comments