Our wonderful city of Atlanta was officially announced as the home of the 22nd team in Major League Soccer, and will begin competing in the highest level of the sport in the United States in 2017.
MLS Atlanta is the fourth team to be announced in the past year, as a second New York team (NYCFC) was announced in the middle of last season, Orlando City SC and an expansion Miami team (owned by David Beckham) were announced over the off season. NYCFC and Orlando will join the league next year, while there is no scheduled date for the Miami squad to begin play.
Talks between Atlanta and MLS have been going on for near a decade. While the yet-to-be-named (more on that soon) Atlanta team is still two and a half years from getting started, today’s press conference featuring MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Atlanta Falcons and soccer owner Arthur Blank brought to light several details:
- The new team will, as widely speculated, play in the new stadium being built for the Atlanta Falcons. The interior will be built to alter not only the number of available seating between the two events, but will also be able to retract seats and make the field MLS regulation size in terms of width (something that has been a complaint/worry of international teams that play in the Georgia Dome).
- Blank also said with 100% certainty that “There will not be NFL lines on the field for an MLS game,” which got a huge uproar from Terminus Legion. This is seen in almost all of the shared stadiums between the two leagues–New England and Seattle for example–and will be nice to not see when Atlanta is playing.
- Of course, there are already season tickets for 2017 available, and also an opportunity to be apart of some sort of founding members club to the first 5,000 people who put a $50 deposit on their tickets. Sure, it’s annoyingly capitalistic and a complete business move, but also pretty cool.
- Blank said that there is no planned team name or logo yet, but the colors of the club will mirror the red and white of the Falcons (and the introductory scarf had a heavy amount of goldas well). Blank said the fans will have all the opportunities to put their input into the name of the team, which is how both the Falcons and Thrashers (RIP) were named.
There seems to already be a huge amount of excitement around the team, which excellently mirrors the “thirst for soccer” which was talked about throughout the day.
The Atlanta MLS team is the first time the city will have a top-tier soccer team since 1972, the final year of the Atlanta Chiefs, who played in the original North American Soccer League. Currently, there is the Atlanta Silverbacks, who competed in last year’s (re-started) NASL championship game against the New York Cosmos.
Forget two years of waiting. If anyone is interested, I’ll be in the Dome tomorrow and will be more than happy to kickoff the franchise.