Atlanta United held its season-ending media session last week at the training ground in Marietta.
I’ve posed a few stories from interviews with Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra and players Michael Parkhurst, Brad Guzan, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Josef Martinez, Hector Villalba, Julian Gressel and Miguel Almiron.
Here are excerpts from Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin:
Q. What did you make of the USL news?
CG: It’s pretty exciting. This first year we didn’t get much playing time. It will be a good opportunity to get some games in and some minutes.
AC: It’s good not only for us, but for the rest of the guys in the academy. Young guys on the team, it gives them something to chase for between the academy and the first team. It gives them a good place to get some good, competitive matches and it will be good for the club.
Q. Biggest piece of advice you would give to the three guys who are coming online in January as Homegrown players?
AC: Go in and not be afraid to make mistakes, to be confident in their ability. They signed a professional contract for a reason. They have talent. Go out and use their God-given talent and not be afraid to make a mistake.
CG: Just be confident. That’s the hardest thing coming into a professional environment, just being yourself. What got you to this stage is what will get you through.
Q. What do the two of yall need to go get into the 18 more next season?
AC: Just being more consistent. There will be practices were we will do really, really well. I think we just have to show that coach can rely on us in every situation. If he needs us for five minutes, 10 minutes or 90 minutes we have to show we are consistent and up to the challenge of playing against some of the best guys in the league.
Q. Is Qatar your goal now?
AC: I think it starts here in Atlanta. The more first-team minutes we get and the more minutes we get to show in front of whoever the next national team coach may be, we will show that we are ready for the next step.
To be in Qatar you have to be in a few qualifying matches. Hopefully, we will be able to break in before that.