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Charlotte FC academy sides take on Atlanta in MLS NEXT matches
U-17, U-15 teams play on Oct. 31
Published Monday, October 26, 2020
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Charlotte FC academy's U-17 and U-15 teams will take on clubs from Atlanta United in MLS NEXT matches Oct. 31 at Bank of America Stadium.

Soccer returns to Bank of America Stadium this weekend.

Charlotte FC’s under-17 and U-15 academy teams continue the inaugural MLS NEXT season against Atlanta United’s academy sides on Oct. 31. Kickoff is set for the U-17 match at noon, followed by the U-15 side at 2:30 p.m. Gates open at 11 a.m. Matches will also be streamed on Charlotte FC’s social media and their website.

“What an unbelievable opportunity for our players,” Charlotte FC academy manager Dan Lock said in a statement. “We are committed to developing top-quality players and giving them the resources they need to be successful on and off the pitch. Hosting games at the stadium is something only our academy can provide to these young men. It’s going to be an amazing feeling for them as they get to run out of the tunnel onto the pitch.”

While the derby remains unnamed, it is expected to be a contentious matchup when the first team takes the pitch in 2022. Until then, academy players can boast of breaking in the crest at Bank of America Stadium and playing on Halloween does not hurt. While the match is free and open to the public, seating capacity remains under 6,000 in accordance with North Carolina’s restrictions in Phase 3 of reopening during COVID-19. Stadium health and safety guidelines will also be in place.

“This is going to be an amazing experience for our players to be able to play on Charlotte FC’s home pitch and is indicative of the type of opportunities we strive to provide through our academy,” Charlotte FC technical director Marc Nicholls said. “We know that the rivalry with Atlanta United will be important to our fans and I’m excited that our academy players get the first chance to get the rivalry started.”

Said Tepper Sports & Entertainment President Tom Glick: “I’m thrilled our academy players have this special opportunity to play at our stadium in front of their family, friends, fans and supporters. This region has a strong soccer history, and over the last couple months our academy has started developing some of the best young talent in the Carolinas. These games will give us the first taste of MLS matches on our home pitch, and by 2022, you may see some of these Academy players suit up with our first team.”

Through Oct. 17, the U-17 side was third in the Southeast, 2-1-1 with seven points, scoring 16 goals and allowing seven. Atlanta, which sits second also at 2-1-1 with seven points, have scored 17 goals and allowed six. Orlando, which leads at 4-0, has allowed just two goals – against Charlotte in a 3-2 victory on Oct. 10. The U-15 side is fifth in the Southeast at 1-1, three points, scoring two goals and allowing five. Both of Charlotte’s teams are scheduled to play four games between Nov. 7-Dec. 12.  

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