Weeks before the last game of the 2014 NASL season, rumors were flying around that the Atlanta Silverbacks were done for. It’s easy to imagine why: the team was suffering horribly, dead last and no signs of getting any better, and the juggernaut that is Major League Soccer was breathing down the city’s neck.
The season ended with a tough 2-1 loss to Edmonton…and that was that. No word from anybody. While it was never said outright, it looked like the team’s run was over. It wasn’t even the first time the team had gone away – in 2009 and 2010 Silverbacks Park was quiet due to restructuring and switching over from USL Pro to NASL.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the announcement of the Atlanta Major League Soccer team came out of nowhere. After all, what’s soccer in the south but an afterthought, something for the locals to get irritated about every four years when the World Cup comes around?
Every soccer pundit and writer in the country talked for months ahead of the announcement how bad of an idea it was for MLS to come to the city. Besides the usual talk of “nobody will support it” and “Atlanta is a terrible sports town,” there was the question of history. How does anyone know if soccer will make it, much less thrive?
Are you one of the intrepid Tottenham Hotspur fans who travel to the Brewhouse every weekend to watch the team battle in the EPL? Then you’re bound to enjoy the news that hit today regarding the Atlanta Major League Soccer team that’s coming in 2017.
Darren Eales, who currently serves as executive director of football administration at Tottenham Hotspur since 2010, is now to be at the helm of the upcoming Atlanta team. While there is no start date set in stone yet, no doubt he’ll be heading over the pond soon to get things rolling.
Today, at an event held on the corner of Baker and Marietta Street, the dreams of thousands of soccer fans in Atlanta came true: Atlanta is officially the next Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise.
Arthur Blank, co-founder of the Home Depot franchise and owner of the Atlanta Falcons, joined MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, and US soccer legend Alexi Lalas in an afternoon event to announce the new team. While the official announcement happened upstairs at the Ventanas event space, a large crowd had also gathered in an empty lot across the street to cheer on the news. The team will play its first game in 2017.