COVINGTON, Ga. - Local children benefited from a beautiful gift designed to boost the beautiful game.
The Atlanta United Foundation and Good Sports donated more than $120,000 worth of items to nine YMCA branches across the Atlanta area, including the Covington-Newton County Y.
Chris Goslin, a 17-year-old United midfielder from Locust Grove, made the trip to Covington to donate the equipment and pose for pictures with Newton County’s youngest soccer stars.
“We are doing this at a lot of locations around Atlanta, hopefully spreading the love of soccer during these holiday times,” Goslin said.
“We are proud to partner with Good Sports on this important and impactful project,” Atlanta United President Darren Eales said in a statement.
“As a key part of our mission, the Atlanta United Foundation aims to make the game of soccer accessible and inclusive across our state. This program allows us to work toward that goal by supporting the Metro Atlanta YMCA and providing equipment that will allow greater access to our sport for deserving local kids.”
United players Alec Kann, Andrew Carleton, Patrick Okonkwo and Lagos Kunga also took part in the distribution of soccer items.
Goslin became the second homegrown player in club history when he signed with Atlanta United in 2016. He didn’t see playing time for United in its inaugural season, in which the Five Stripes made a playoff appearance.
Goslin said he’s enthusiastic about the future, though, and glad for the break after the long slog of a season.
“Everybody gets a rest and everybody’s getting recharged,” he said.
Atlanta United will begin its second season in February and look to get back in the playoffs. The club lost a disappointing first-round match against Columbus on penalty kicks.
“Being an expansion team, a lot of people didn’t even think we would make playoffs, knowing the history,” Goslin said. “We made playoffs, we didn’t go as far as we’d hoped, but it gives us confidence knowing next year we should be back and hopefully we’ll go farther.”
Officials with the Y said they appreciated the support.
“At the Y, our goal is that every child that wants to participate in youth sports has the opportunity to do so,” CEO Ed Munster said.
“The first youth soccer program in America was started at the YMCA of Metro Atlanta in the late 1970s, and we have remained committed to introducing youth to soccer locally for 40 years. We hope to inspire a love of the game, while encouraging teamwork and skill development.
“No child is turned away from the Y for inability to pay, so we offer financial assistance to ensure all who desire to participate can. It is a pleasure and a privilege to partner with the Atlanta United Foundation and Good Sports to help youth have the equipment they need.”