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Atlanta United FC

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Atlanta United FC

Atlanta United FC
Full name Atlanta United Football Club
Founded 2014
Stadium Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Ground Capacity 29,322 (MLS configuration)
Owner Arthur Blank
President Darren Eales
Head Coach Vacant
League Major League Soccer
Website Club home page

Atlanta United FC is a Home Depot co-founder and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, and will play in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, currently under construction. Following Orlando City SC, United will be the second MLS expansion team in the southeastern United States.

Expansion process

As the largest metropolitan area without an MLS franchise,[1] Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank's AMB Group submitted a bid in 2008 for an expansion franchise,[2] but withdrew the bid in early 2009 due to its inability to get a stadium built.[3] Despite the withdrawal of the bid, Dan Courtemanche, MLS's executive vice president, said on July 10 that regular discussion with Blank regarding Atlanta's potential as expansion market were occurring.[4]

In May 2012, while the Falcon's proposed new stadium was going through the approval process, MLS Commissioner Don Garber cited Atlanta as one of three "intriguing" markets for future league expansion.[5] Additionally, when Blank presented his case for a new stadium at the Falcons' annual meeting with season ticket holders, he stated that an additional benefit of the stadium was that it could help attract a Major League Soccer franchise and potentially host World Cup matches.[6] Later that year, in November, Garber said that if the Falcons could complete plans for a new stadium, MLS would "try to figure out how an MLS team could be part of their plans."[7]

Throughout 2013, the league and the Falcons were in contact regularly,[8] and [10] The stadium was set to open in 2017 and could be configured for professional soccer.[8] Atlanta remained at the top of the list for an MLS expansion team, as Garber, in the December 2013 MLS State of the League address, emphasized that it was a goal to continue to expand in the southeast, and added, "if we can continue to advance our discussions positively with Arthur [Blank] and the [Atlanta] Falcons, we hope to be able to get a situation finalized so that could potentially be our second team. Orlando being the first, maybe Atlanta or Miami would be the second or the third."[11][12] In December 2013, Garber said the league was making progress in discussions with the Falcons and that the stadium situation was finalized.[13] Negotiations continued with Courtemanche saying in January 2014 that Atlanta "remains a great prospect for MLS expansion,"[14] and in February 2014, Rich McKay confirming the parties were "far along in negotiations."[15]

Finally, on April 16, 2014, Blank announced that MLS had awarded an expansion franchise to his group to begin play in 2017. Atlanta became the second franchise awarded in the southeastern United States in five months, following the Orlando City announcement in late 2013. The Southeast had been without any MLS team since the Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny clubs were dissolved in 2001.[16]

Preparations

Arthur Blank stated that fans would be involved in choosing the name, logo and "a color scheme that'll work with the red and black with a little bit of gold mixed in"[17] (the colors used by the Falcons when they launched in 1966[18]).

On June 25, 2015, Sports Illustrated reported that the team will be named Atlanta United FC. The official announcement of the team's name took place on July 7.[19] Franchise president, Darren Eales, confirmed the new name, calling it "authentic",[20] and explaining that the name was chosen based on a survey of the team's supporters and used words the supports most positively related to the potential team.[21]

Eales also stated that the Founder's Group meeting would still be held on July 7 and the logo for the new team would be unveiled.[20]

Stadium

United will begin play in 2017 in the retractable-roof stadium being built for the Falcons in downtown Atlanta. While the stadium has a capacity of 71,000, it can be reduced to 29,322 for the MLS team.[16] Stands will be retractable to accommodate a larger pitch and allow better sight lines, while curtains would be used to close off the upper section to create an intimate atmosphere. Blank also said, "There will never be an MLS game in Atlanta where NFL lines are shown on the field."[1]

In August 2015, Atlanta United FC announced plans for training facilities and team headquarters.[22]

Symbols

The team's name, logo and colors were unveiled on July 7, 2015. The logo features a circle reminiscent of the city's seal and Olympic heritage with a bold "A" at the center of the circle. Behind the "A" are five black and red stripes representing the five pillars of the club: unity, determination, community, excellence and innovation.[23] The team's official colors are black (symbol of strength and power), red (a reflection of pride and passion) and gold (representing excellence).[24]

Ownership

Arthur Blank is the owner of Atlanta United FC

Team owner Arthur M. Blank is an American businessman and a co-founder of The Home Depot.[25] Today he is known for his philanthropy and his ownership of the Atlanta Falcons in the National Football League.[26]

Staff

On March 2, 2015, United announced the hiring of former United States defender Carlos Bocanegra as technical director.[27]

Role Name Nation
Technical director Bocanegra, CarlosCarlos Bocanegra  United States

Supporters group

Terminus Legion is a supporter group that was created in March 2011 by graphic designer Matt Stigall, who wanted a way to show that Atlanta fans would support soccer despite the perception of the city as a "lazy sports town". The group was named after the name given to Atlanta when it was first settled, and its logo featuring a cow catcher and railroad ties reflect the city's history as a locomotive hub. In the days since the expansion team was awarded, its membership doubled to over 500, and in the time leading up to 2017, Stigall said the group would support "all Atlanta soccer" including the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL and at the grassroots level, and make road trips to D.C. United and Orlando City matches.[28]

The supporters of the new MLS team had already pledged to purchase more than 20,000 season tickets.[29] As of October 2015 there are already 26,000 pledged season ticket holders.

References

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  20. ^ a b
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  24. ^ http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/pro-sports/atlanta-united-fc-unveils-new-logo/nms9S/
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External links

  • Official website



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