Georgian product George Bello is among teenage trio from USA 08/28/2021

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Big stories after the United States’ roster announced Thursday for the opening of World Cup qualifying included the team’s three teenage players. Ricardo Pepi attracted a lot of attention because he made the decision to play for the United States internationally. Gio reyna was also important because he was great to start the Bundesliga season for Borussia Dortmund.

Then 19 years ago George bello, Atlanta United left-back who at one point was one of the most promising players in his U-17 cycle, but struggled with injuries and later under Frank de Boer with Atlanta.

Bello signed his first professional contract, a local contract, with Atlanta Untied in 2017 at the age of 15. He made his first-team debut the following year late in the season during the club’s famous winning campaign under Aunt martino.

Part of starting a professional career at such a young age is that you can struggle, bounce back, and pick up your pace right from the start. This is indeed the case for Bello, who had a good season in 2021.

It hasn’t been easy for Atlanta United to succeed this season, either. The club struggled under the new manager Gabriel Heinze – who was quickly sacked in mid-season. After the Gold Cup, the club started to take off and the squad took off – Bello playing an important role alongside a new designated player. Luiz Araujo, defenseman of the United States national team Miles robinson, and the continuous improvement of Josef martinez in his return from an ACL injury.

Bello, for his part, continually impressed no matter the situation. In addition to the Atlanta roller coaster, Bello was also called up to the United States national team for the 2021 Gold Cup. While he often played behind Sam Vines in that tournament, Bello started the final against Mexico, coached by his former Atlanta coach Martino, and played in the second half of a 1-0 victory.

Since returning from the Gold Cup to Atlanta, Bello has continued to play with a high level of confidence while showing impressive skill, as evidenced by his back heel assist in a 3-2 victory over Columbus on August 7. The victory sparked a four-game winning streak in Atlanta this weekend when it hosts Nashville SC. The recent streak has put Atlanta back into the playoff image.

‘He was good again,’ Atlanta United interim coach Rob valentino declared this month after the victory over Columbus. “I think he brought energy and common sense to a tactical side of the Gold Cup. It comes from being surrounded by good coaches, good players.”

Considering the level he plays, it was easy to see why the American coach Gregg Berhalter selected Bello for World Cup qualifiers. With six center-backs on the roster, Berhalter looks likely to use a 3-4-3 formation, which would push the full-backs forward in midfield and provide wide attacking quality.

It plays on Bello’s strengths and Berhalter was quick to highlight Bello’s strengths as a player and bright future after naming him to the squad.

“It was a difficult decision between Sam [Vines] and George, ”Berhalter explained. “In one respect, we felt Sam’s situation with his club [transfer from Colorado Rapids to Royal Antwerp] and the missing time in the preseason may perhaps delay it.

“But we also liked George’s performance at the Gold Cup. We like his mentality. We like his tenacity. He’s a very young player and it will be interesting to see how he can react to these games, what it means to play away from Concacaf, and for him to see what it’s all about.

“We believe George is an integral part of the future,” added Berhalter. “It’s a great opportunity to get him involved now. “

Born in Abuja, Nigeria, Bello moved to the United States when he was only 1 year old. His father, an amateur player, instilled in George a love of football when he was very young. He admired players like Neymar and Lionel messi but also developed a love for the left rear position and frequently watched videos on David Alaba and Marcelo to learn the post.

When he joined Atlanta, however, the club recognized his enormous talent but also the work that needed to be done to help him get there.

“For George, he’s one of those players with the ‘X factor’,” said the former Atlanta United academy manager. Tony Annan in 2018. “For me, he’s a special player who has all the pieces. We have to polish and educate him to make him a smarter player. But he’s one of the most exciting hopes in the United States. United, in my opinion. “

That hard work in his development has paid off and that once raw prospect is now someone who is a daily starter for Atlanta as well as a Gold Cup champion who is now ready to help the United States qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

The young American talent of that time was confronted early on with the dilemma: to go abroad or become pro with MLS. A few years ago, when signing his first professional contract, Bello thought that Atlanta United was the best solution.

“Personally, and mostly because it’s my hometown,” Bello said of signing with Atlanta United in 2017. “But also, because MLS is a great place to start for young players because it’s is an excellent place to put your feet on the ground, used to playing, to make yourself known, until the moment when maybe a European team wants you.

When you look at where he is now for club and country, it’s clear the decision to start at Atlanta was correct. He was able to play with quality players and often in front of massive crowds often exceeding 60,000 people. Now he is helping the team find their way back to victory.

Perhaps more importantly, he’s still on a path that will help him reach his ceiling. Earlier in the season, he explained better why he is still a player full of promise and potential.

“I am far from where I can be,” he said.

When you look at what he has done this year, it’s an impressive statement.


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