At just 23-years-old, London City Lionesses recent signing Atlanta Primus has already amassed a wealth of experience at the top level of women’s football. The forward, who signed from California State University this season speaks openly about her time in America, the influence of family, and her desire to be successful and contribute to the 2020/21 campaign.
There are two things that strike you when you listen to Atlanta Primus talk about her move to London City Lionesses. The first is the high regard in which she holds the club and its ambitions. The second is her determination to make her return to English football a success. Having already made five appearances since joining the club at the beginning of September, the youngster looks set to make her mark while she continues to acclimatise to life back in England.
“I’m really enjoying my time,” she confesses. “Everyone has been super welcoming, and it’s definitely been an adjustment for me coming over from America.”
Having spent the majority of her early career at Chelsea WFC, where she enjoyed success at youth international level, Primus talks with refreshing honesty about the difficulty to find consistent minutes in the first-team, which ultimately prompted her move away from the club in 2016.
“I think opportunity-wise I was at a big club and it’s hard for young players to break through. I was working really hard and obviously I respect bigger names at bigger clubs are going to play week in week out, but I just found it difficult,” she remembers.
While things did not progress as she had hoped in west London, she prefers to view her departure as simply a change of direction – one that provided her with the opportunity to ply her trade in America; moving to California State University to combine football with further education.
“I had a period of time before I went out there when I wasn’t really enjoying football how I used to. The opportunity to go out to the states was something that helped me fall back in love with the game and find my passion and drive for it again. I learned a lot about myself and being out there on my own, I had to grow up quickly,” Primus adds.
Her move to the west coast certainly paid off with her performances earning her a place in the Big West Regional Team, becoming all-time assist leader in 2019, gaining the captaincy, and renewing her love for the game in the process. Although she reveals that the American league places greater emphasis on, “physicality and athleticism” in comparison with its English counterpart, Primus hails this as an advantage, with the focus on strength allowing her to add a: “different dimension” to her game; one she hopes will prove advantageous to her new side.
In addition to her time in America proving influential, Primus also recognises the instrumental role that her family have played in her career - particularly her father - ex-professional footballer Linvoy Primus, who undoubtedly acts as an important figure of guidance for the 23-year-old.
“He’s had a lot of experience over his career so being able to talk to him about training and about things to help me develop my game is something I always do and always have done,” she explains. “I’m very blessed to be in this position where I can talk to someone whose been through the majority of things in football. He definitely makes a huge difference to my development and the way I see the game.”
Evidently, this support network has been vital in helping Primus gain a greater understanding of the game and her own attributes. So, what impact does she envisage herself having on this season?
Despite stressing that it is, “always nice to score goals” the success of the team takes precedent in Primus’ mind. Instead of detailing personal ambition she shows incredible maturity by opting to focus on the success of the team, while continuing to hold herself to the exceptionally high standards that have brought her success in the past.
“It’s all about the team and wherever I am on the field I’m going to put in maximal effort and try my hardest wherever I find myself. Our goal to push on and be competitive and really go for it this year was something that drew me into wanting to be a part of the London City Lionesses.”
With plenty of fixtures remaining in the league competition, Primus will certainly have a plethora of opportunities to make her mark on the FA Women’s Championship and help steer the London City Lionesses to success in the process.
Written by Club Journalist Cassie Coombes
Photography by Edward Payne photography