“Eh I doubt it works. People only care about the typical three around here—football, baseball, and basketball,” A young college kid said in 2014 when it was announced on local news that Atlanta had a soccer team coming to the MLS. “They’ll end up just like the Thrashers and be out of here in a few years.”
Funny enough, that kid barely even knew anything considerable about soccer besides playing it as a five-year-old at Rockdale Soccer Youth Association (RYSA), fake caring for the US national team every four years, and seeing Lionel Messi on SportsCenter.
Then came the team name, Atlanta United. What is a United? Sure, you can be united, but aren’t American team names an actual noun?
That kid thought the jerseys were cool, but what about that weird insurance company donning the entire front. However, it’s hard to go wrong with red and black.
That kid thought a similar level of wonder for the Atlanta franchise when it finally sent players out on the pitch for the first time at Bobby-Dodd Stadium to a packed crowd.
“They lost in dramatic fashion just like a typical Atlanta team,” That kid said following a 2-1 Atlanta loss to the New York Red Bulls.
That kid didn’t attend his first game until September 13, 2017, but that day truly began everything.
The miniscule flame of interest in soccer was already lit after Georgia State University needed a broadcast vacancy filled for the men’s and women’s soccer teams earlier that same year. Research and study began, but the love for the team and its incredible fans did not come until that September day.
The crowd was electric, loud, and stood the whole game. A-T-L was chanted like this kid had never heard before.
Atlanta United defeated an underperforming New England Revolution squad 7-0.
It was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve had to this day.
Yes, Atlanta United I was late to the team but please forgive me. I’m here now and so are thousands more. We’re ready for a shot at a championship.
If you lose, well, it’s alright. Bless your heart. We all “knew it was coming.” You’ll be indoctrinated into Atlanta sports history.
Oh, but if you win.
If you win, you’ll prove so many like me, naïve of Atlanta soccer history and culture, wrong and we will gladly enjoy being wrong.
UNITE. AND. CONQUER.