Last year, North American Soccer League (NASL) team and Atlanta Silverbacks rival Minnesota United released a fun video showing their supporters group the Dark Clouds. Everyone who regularly attends Silverbacks games quietly laughed to themselves, thinking “how quaint, they only have one SG.”
Atlanta Ultras chant in Section 101 during a game at Silverbacks Park.
That’s because Atlanta doesn’t just have one active supporters group – we have three! Not only that, there have been many others over the years, for the Silverbacks as well as other teams from the past. Each group has its own culture and identity and celebrates their team in different ways.
Here is a quick look at some of the groups around Atlanta including some from days gone by.
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?