Michael Barrueta of Signal Mountain is one of 22 players on the initial roster of the under-13 academy team fielded by the Atlanta United, the professional organization that will start Major League Soccer play in 2017. The United's owner is Arthur Blank, who also owns the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, and the MLS team will take care of all the costs for its five academy youth teams: U-18, U-16, U-14 and U-12 in addition to the 13s. Players throughout the Southeast who were interested were cut to about 120 for an I.D. session in April for each academy age group, and about half of those were invited back for final tryouts last month. "It's the top level for kids his age other than national team," said Dave Barrueta, Michael's dad and a former Girls Preparatory School coach. Michael is finishing his second year with the Concorde Fire, one of two Georgia organizations with a US Soccer-established development academy, and has played a variety of positions, including center forward, center back, center midfielder and goalkeeper. He has been attending Baylor School but will be going to Signal Mountain this year to allow more flexibility for his Atlanta United schedule. Training will start in August, and the first games will be in September.
' Lee University women's soccer coach Chris Hennessey has announced the addition of defender Kaitlyn Butts from Cincinnati as a late addition to his 2016 recruiting class. "She has a strong soccer background and has enjoyed a successful playing career," Hennessey said in a Lee release Tuesday. Butts was a team captain for Cincinnati Christian School the last two years and for her Ohio Elite Soccer Academy club teams since 2012. Ohio Elite reached the ECNL North America Finals in 2013-14 and the ECNL Champions League playoffs last year. She was a three-year all-conference player in high school.