The Oakes – Southern States Soccer is pleased, if a little sad to announce that 2004 player Joshua ‘Juice’ Rowland will be moving on to pastures new in 2019. ‘Juice’ is headed to Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United FC. He will join up full-time with their Development Academy after impressing in recent training and games for the Five Stripes. ‘Juice’ and 2003 player ‘Topher LaRussa were seen by Atlanta during a tournament this year, a game where the Southern States Soccer Academy ’03 team defeated their MLS opposition by 4-3.
Rowland is a Birmingham, Alabama native and has an older brother Michael who plays on ‘The Academy’ ’02 team. Michael is a creative attacking midfielder or forward while ‘Juice’ enjoys defending and attacking from the full-back position. He can also play as the holding midfielder at #6.
“It’s the main emphasis of ‘The Academy’ to lay the foundation work and prepare dedicated athletes for a higher level, be that professional or collegiate. ‘The Academy’ focuses on developing players individually within a team structure, we regard equally winning and losing as part of the developmental and competitive process” explained Director of Soccer Operations, Nigel Boulton.
While ‘Juice’ is excited by the move and the challenge ahead, he says he will miss his teammates and Southern States Soccer. “My time at ‘The Academy’ has been one of the greatest moves I could have ever made. Coach Reynolds and all the coaches have developed me in the best possible way. I have enjoyed every minute with this program and being with my teammates, they are like family to me. I couldn’t be any more grateful for how everyone has supported me on this journey”.
For ‘Juice’s parents Jason and Kristen it’s a proud moment. As mom and dad explained, “Ever since ‘Juice’ was six years old he wanted to play in the MLS. Some kids want to be a doctor or an engineer when they grow up but ‘Juice’ always wanted to be play professional soccer. If you ask him today his answer is the same. He has gone through ups and downs with soccer and life in general but he is very determined’.
“All at Southern States Soccer wish him the best, we’re proud of him too” said Director of Coaching Carl Reynolds, “Although ‘Juice’ prepares to set out on a different path now, the journey’s destination remains the same. He has a wonderful opportunity to prepare himself further for the climb that lays ahead. It gets tougher with each step that you take but ‘Juice’ has shown he has the dedication and focus to achieve his goal.