Author: dregose9

2024 UPSL Georgia Premier Division Fall Season Realignment

The growth and popularity of soccer in the United States continues to grow and prosper in 2024. Since the appearance of the UPSL in the Georgia area in 2018, the same could be said for developmental, lower league soccer.

From its modest beginnings as the UPSL Atlanta Caribbean Division teams were just a step up from recreational teams. In 2024, fully professional clubs and academies are now commonplace as they continue building clubs and training up players to advance to the next class of professional soccer players in the USA.

The 2024 Spring season in the UPSL Georgia Premier Division was one of the most compelling and competitive in the history of the Georgia Conference. As we move on to the coming Fall season, a realignment was needed to assure that the Premier division would further reach the next level of progress. Following are the details of this realignment:

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Leaving the Premier Division in the Fall:
Atlanta United Academy:
A realignment internally at Atlanta United sees them dissolve the U19 Academy team to reorganize and focus on MLS Next with U16 and U18 age groups. A return to the UPSL could happen in the near future but for now, United will be replaced by keeping up one of the Spring season’s relegated teams in Premier.

Soccer Saves Lives (SSL) FC:
SSL FC’s existence in the Premier Division has been ruled ineligible due to the team operating as a 2nd team to Kalonji Pro-Profile as well as a consistent failure to meet participation standards for the Premier Division. Under UPSL rules, participating clubs may not field 2 teams at the same time in the Premier Division. Teams that participate in Premier also must meet the minimum standards of participation in the Premier Division. SSL will be manually moved to a lower division to be determined after the Georgia Conference realignment is completed.

Relegated Teams:
Due to both Atlanta United Academy and SSL FC leaving the Premier Division for Fall, this allows both the Spring season’s relegated teams, FC Atlanta and North Georgia United FC, to remain in the Georgia Premier Division for the coming Fall season.

Promotion Details:
LSA won the division 1 playoff and qualified for automatic promotion to the Premier. Unfortunately, LSA reported that they would not be able to field a team in Premier for the Fall season.

As a consequence of LSA not progressing to the Premier Division, runner’s up Fountain City FC will take the automatic promotion spot vacated by LSA.

Vinotinto Atlanta won the Division 1 promotion playoff and earned promotion to the Premier Division. Vinotinto’s return to the Georgia Conference top flight after only one season in division 1.

Legends FC (like LSA FC and Atlanta United Academy) reported that they too would be skipping the Fall season which in turn, opened another promotion spot which goes to the runner up to the division 1 playoffs, Atlanta Fire South FC (to be rebranded as Albion SC Atlanta)

Note: The UPSL has granted the Georgia Division an additional spot in Premier to bring the total number of teams to 14 teams. This allocation can be applied to the Fall season or to the Spring 2025 season. More to come on that…

2024 Division 1 Promotion Playoff

The battle for the “automatic promotion spot” to the Fall season Premier Division was contested this past weekend between the winners of each of the two Division 1 groups, LSA Sharks and Fountain City FC. On an oppressively hot afternoon, these 2 teams played and entertaining  match with LSA Sharks coming out on top by the score of 2-1.

LSA goals from Adan Galvez & Luis Acuna were enough to counter the single goal from Fountain City’s Ian Corbin to earn LSA a spot in the UPSL Georgia Premier Division for the 2024 Fall season. Both teams came into this match after winning their perspective Division 1 groups and earn a right to get automatic promotion with a win in this one off playoff match. Evenly matched, the game did not disappoint for excitement and drama.

Despite the loss, Fountain City still have an opportunity to compete for the 2nd promotion spot by being placed in the Division 1 playoffs which includes the top 8 seeds remaining from the 2 division 1 groups. The winner of the division 1 playoffs will also earn promotion to the Georgia Premier Division for the Fall 2024 seasons. Both promotions are also contingent on if the teams can meet the raised standards of the Premier Division.

2024 Spring Season Awards

Premier Division Awards & Honors

Each season, The Atlantic Soccer Media Group, awards select individuals from the UPSL Georgia Conference for recognition for stand out performances both on and off the pitch.

Manager Award

Coach Award

Golden Boot

Andrew Jo Howoon Ignacio Masís Emanuel Lom

Andrew Jo Howoon (UMA FC) Manager of the Season
UMA FC came into the UPSL Georgia Conference in their first year to run away with the Division 1 title while setting records in the process. In the following season, they were promoted to the Premier Division and despite only having youth players available to draw upon for the bulk of the season, managed to survive in the Premier Division and only just missed the playoffs on the season’s last day. This season, UMA managed to qualify for the playoffs in the Premier Division for the first time and continue to show consistency and progress in their career in the UPSL. This is a testament to the leadership of Andrew Jo Howoon who works well within the parameters of the league as well as maintains a full club with a quality academy and 1st team squads This combination of quality is why he has been awarded ASMG’s Manager of the Season.

Ignacio Masís (Potros FC) Coach of the Season
Since coming into the UPSL several seasons ago, Potros FC has always provided a strong administration presence in the league with their owner, Christopher Uranga receiving honors as manager of the club in multiple seasons in recent years. However, the coaching excellence was on full display for the 2024 Spring season as Potros FC secured their first ever Premier Division Regular Season Title and go into the Division Playoffs as a #1 seed. The man behind this success is coach Ignacio Masís who guided what can be described as the most consistent team in the Premier Division to top honors this season.

Emanuel Lom (North Georgia United FC) Golden Boot Winner
North Georgia United FC have endured one of the more difficult seasons for them in this 2024 Spring season with a first ever relegation for the club in the UPSL. However, Emanuel Lom has been one of the shinning stars for North Georgia and will possibly be a key player for the club in the Fall as they will certainly look to bounce back to the Premier after the Fall season. Lom scored a league leading 11 goals only just pipping his teammate, Ronald Maradiaga, who himself was a key figure for the club scoring 10 goals for North Georgia as part of the one, two punch from North Georgia in the Spring.

Division 1 Awards & Honors

Manager Award

Coach Award

Golden Boot

Jonathan Cueva Sean Duvall Tristan Shytle

Jonathan Cueva (LSA Pro) Manager of the Season
Jonathan Cueva oversaw a successful first season in the UPSL Division 1 by guiding his club to a Division 1 title with a promotion playoff victory against Fountain City FC. LSA is not a new team but are returning for a 2nd time in the Georgia Conference to compete to return to their former position in the Premier Division. Cueva oversaw the operations of LSA to a successful season that has culminated in the Division 1 Championship and an automatic promotion to the Premier Division for the 2024 Fall season.

Sean Duvall (Fountain City FC) Coach of the Season
Fountain City FC have been a revelation in their first season in the UPSL. Dominating the regular season in the Division 1 South, they only came up short by a single goal in the Division 1 Championship game against LSA Pro. Despite the setback in the Championship game, they still are in a position for more honors by qualifying for the Division 1 promotion playoffs. Being a relatively new team took skillful planning and organization by a head coach and Sean Duvall is being recognized as tops in the division on these qualities.

Tristan Shytle (Fountain City FC) Golden Boot Winner
Tristan Shytle has had a phenomenal season with Fountain City FC this season winning the Golden Boot Award for the most goals by an individual in the regular season. Shytle scored 18 goals and contributed to a 1st place finish for his team in the UPSL Georgia Division 1 South at the end of it all. A leader on and off the pitch, Shytle was pivotal to the success on the pitch for Fountain City for Spring 2024. See Shytle’s interview from earlier in the season for his story on this ASMG Set Pieces Podcast segment.

ASMG’s UPSL Premier Division’s Top 10 Goals (Spring 2023)

Top Ten Goals of the 2023 Spring Season in the UPSL Georgia Premier Division

10. North Georgia United
9. Dalton United
8. Club the Strongest
6. Atlanta Rovers
5. Atlanta United
4. Kalonji Pro-Profile
3. Legends FC
2. Atlanta Rovers
1. North Georgia United

Want more UPSL Georgia Soccer?
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About the Atlantic Soccer Media Group:
The Atlantic Soccer Media Group is a sports broadcasting company that produces live match coverage for lower tier soccer leagues in the United States. Clients include teams from the United Premier Soccer League, United Women’s Soccer and other leagues in the Southeast Region of the United States.

Who is the United Premier Soccer League?
The United Premier Soccer League is a Semi-Professional soccer league that occupies the fourth tier of the US Soccer pyramid, just below the three professional tiers in the pyramid. The UPSL is the largest and most competitive pro-development league in North America. The UPSL operates year-round, comprising of a Spring and Fall season. Each season includes a national playoff that ends with the crowning of a National Champion.

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UPSL Georgia Community Cup

The UPSL Georgia Conference will have a new competitive feature named the 2023 Summer Community Cup. This new competition has been created as a season curtain raiser and will put the regular season winner of Division 1 up against the regular season winner of the Premier Division.

Historic Silverback’s Park Stadium is a fitting venue for this match.

In this game we will have current  Division 1 Champion’s UMA FC facing current Premier Division winners Dalton United FC. The match will be played at Silverbacks Stadium in Doraville Georgia on Friday, August 18th. The Atlantic Soccer Media Group will be the broadcast partner to live stream the match on YouTube.

Both Dalton United FC and UMA FC are both newer teams in the Georgia Conference but both have stamped their presence on the conference with impressive displays both in their respective regular season’s as well as in the post season.

Come out to beautiful Silverback’s Park for a great sporting evening for the entire family and witness tomorrow’s stars today competing at the top level in the United Premier Soccer League.

Legends FC Skipper’s Battle Beyond The Pitch

Legends FC head coach, Mark Wozniak has build a solid Georgia Premier Division side in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) in their first year in the league. But there is more to coach Wozniak than meets the eye. Since birth, Wozniak has battled chronic kidney disease in additional to fulfilling his duties as college coach and head coach of the Pro-Development club, Legends FC currently playing the UPSL.

Despite the monumental challenges this brings to Wozniak, it’s clear this has not stopped him from excelling in his position as coach at the highest levels. This life, has included a soccer scholarship to university and a stint overseas in the game. Something that is his medical staff could not have predicted for Wozniak.

More recently, complications have forced a bit of a change to coach Wozniak’s daily routine. This includes dialysis 3 times a week and being placed on a waiting list for a kidney transplant. All the while, still working his passion in the game. A real challenge for the coach but also a inspiration to all who come into contact with him.

To read the full story from Pacey Strickland, click here to go to The Times-News