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Atlanta United’s Annan will coach MLS Homegrowns in big game

Atlanta United academy director Tony Annan will manage the MLS team in the Homegrown Game, which be played against Tigres UANL, as part of the MLS All-Star Week.

The game will be played at 8 p.m. July 31 at Atlanta United’s training ground in Marietta. It will be broadcast live on Univision Deportes and streamed live on Twitter. Last year’s Homegrown Game in Chicago included Atlanta United’s Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin.

Annan has helped develop Atlanta United’s academy teams into some of the best in the league, which included  a U-17 national championship, and is a longtime fixture in Atlanta’s youth soccer scene.

“I’m honored to be asked to do it,” Annan said. “It’s a big privilege for me. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

The MLS All-Star Game, hosted by Atlanta and Atlanta United, will be held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Aug. 1. A team of All-Stars will play Italian legends Juventus.

The Homegrowns have played different teams from Mexico in the past three years. Tigres UANL’s Under-20 team won its league title last month.

“It’s exciting,” Annan said. “It’s a great thing for the players the young guys in the league, to play such a great team with tradition and history. I think it will be a really good challenge for the guys who are selected to play.

Homegrown players are an important aspect of MLS teams. Atlanta United has signed five Homegrown players, including strikers Patrick Okonkwo and Lagos Kunga and defender George Bello. According to MLS, 13 Homegrown players have represented the U.S. men’s national team. Homegrown players are those that are signed to professional contracts by a team after they have spent at least a year in that team’s youth development program.

Previous Homegrown Games

2017: MLS Homegrown Team 2-2 Chivas de Guadalajara U-20s 

2016: MLS Homegrown Team 0-1 Mexico U-20s 

2015: MLS Homegrown Team 1(4)-1(5) Club América U-20s

2014: MLS Homegrown Team 0–0 Portland Timbers U-23s

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