Atlanta United 2, or ATL UTD 2 for short, is the name of Atlanta United’s USL affiliate team that will play at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville.
The name was chosen “after a fair amount of research” because it reflects the “one-club” feel that Atlanta United wants its players and supporters to feel, as well as the hope that the USL team will serve as a developmental path for players from the academy to the senior squad.
“We are incredibly excited to have this opportunity to showcase our young talent and convert them all the way to the first team,” Vice President of Business Operations Catie Griggs said.
The MLS franchise announced in November that it was going to launch its own team in the United Soccer League. The decision ended the club’s two-year affiliate with the Charleston (S.C.) Battery.
ATL UTD 2’s logo features the five alternating red and black stripes that are in the first team’s crest -- another tie to the “one club” philosophy -- but in the center features a “2” intersected by a golden spike, which reflects Atlanta’s railroad history and is an item that has become included in the first team’s pre-game and post-game ceremonies. The USL team’s logo was designed in-house by the same group that designed the MLS team’s crest.
Atlanta United started a USL team because owning one can give players who are less-experienced, seldom-used, or recovering from injuries on its MLS roster a way to earn valuable minutes. Atlanta United has several promising younger players such as Andrew Carleton, Chris Goslin and Miles Robinson who, for various reasons, didn’t play a lot of minutes with the first team last season. The team has signed three more Homegrown Players in Lagos Kunga, Patrick Okonkwo and George Bello, and signed 20-year-old fullback/midfielder Jose Hernandez. The team will also have four picks in the upcoming SuperDraft, which begins Jan. 19 in Philadelphia.
Because the team is located in Gwinnett County, as opposed to Charleston, the players can quickly shuttle back and forth between the MLS club and the USL club on game weekends.
The team’s management will be introduced before the season.
Adding a “2” to a USL’s team name is a common part of a moniker to reflect the MLS parent club. Last season, there was Sounders FC 2 (Seattle), LA Galaxy II, Whitecaps II (Vancouver), Portland Timbers 2, TFC II (Toronto) and New York Red Bulls II.
Griggs shared several details about ATL UTD 2.
The team’s kits will be similar to the first team’s and will be introduced to the public and for sale closer to the start of the season, which is expected to begin in late March. The league schedule could come out within the next seven days.
ATL UTD 2 won’t have a radio partner but its matches will be streamed live on youtube. There will be announcers. That crew will be announced in coming weeks, according to Griggs.
Atlanta United season ticket holders will receive three vouchers to attend ATL UTD 2’s games, as well as preferred pricing for season tickets. Griggs said pricing for season tickets will be materially less expensive than they are for the first team. As for other game-day expenses for ticket-users, Griggs said ATL UTD 2 doesn’t control the prices for parking and concessions at Coolray Field.