Loan agreements between MLS and NASL teams have become more and more common with each new season, and today it was the Atlanta Silverbacks’ turn to dip into the first-division ranks. The Silverbacks have signed forward KELLEN GULLEY on a season-long loan from the Chicago Fire, the club announced Monday.
A native of Clinton, Mississippi, Gulley comes to Atlanta as a promising young prospect. The 18-year-old forward signed a Homegrown contract with the Fire in 2011 after coming up through the club’s youth system. Gulley was a member of the Chicago Fire Juniors in Mississippi and since 2006, has spent part of every summer training at the club’s professional facilities in Chicago.
“Kellen is a young player with tons of potential, and someone who could end up filling a big role on our team this season,” said Silverbacks Head Coach BRIAN HAYNES. “To me, it’s funny how things can come full circle because the opportunity we have with Kellen reminds me a lot of the time I spent developing Eddie Johnson. I have a young MLS player who has big things in his future if he puts his head down and works hard.”
Gulley has yet to make a first-team appearance for the Fire, but has appeared in four MLS Reserve League matches, tallying a goal and an assist. He also appeared in the club’s exhibition match against Chivas de Guadalajara in 2011.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Gulley’s resume is his achievements with the U.S. U-17 National Team. The 6-foot forward has scored some important goals for his country, finding the net against Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico (twice) during international competition.
Gulley has featured for the Silverbacks in all of their preseason games this season – all of them wins over the University of North Georgia, Georgia State University, UAB, and USL Pro side Charlotte Eagles. When Gulley eventually steps on to the field for the first time during 2013 league play, he’ll be making his professional debut.
The Silverbacks kick off their 2013 season on April 13 against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at 7:30 p.m. at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. To purchase tickets, call the Silverbacks ticket office at 404-969-4900 or visit atlantasilverbacks.com.
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