Atlanta United FC
|Full name||Atlanta United FC|
|Nickname(s)||unofficial: The Five Stripes|
|Founded||April 16, 2014|
|Stadium||Bobby Dodd Stadium|
|Head coach||Gerardo Martino|
|League||Major League Soccer|
|Website||Club home page|
Atlanta United FC is an American professional soccer club based in Atlanta, Georgia, that began play in 2017 as a member of the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer. The club, which was announced by the league as an expansion franchise on April 16, 2014, is owned and operated by Home Depot co-founder and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank. The team currently plays at Bobby Dodd Stadium, and is scheduled to move to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in September.
As the largest metropolitan area without an MLS franchise, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank's AMB Group submitted a bid in 2008 for an expansion franchise, but withdrew the bid in early 2009 due to its inability to get a stadium built. 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.
On May 2011, the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg and became the Winnipeg Jets. The Thrashers relocation helped re-start the efforts and talks of bringing an MLS expansion team to Atlanta.
In May 2012, while the Falcons' 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. 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. 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."
Rich McKay, Falcons president and CEO, said in 2013 that the team was "open to various options, including [its] ownership of a team or someone else owning a team". Dan Courtemanche said, "We are big believers in the Atlanta market," and cited the city's growing Hispanic population and corporations that could serve as its sponsors. Then, in March 2013, the city and the Falcons agreed to financing terms, and in May 2013, the Georgia Department of Economic Development board approved $30 million in bonds to finance the land purchase for the new stadium. The stadium was set to open in 2017 and could be configured for professional soccer. 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." In December 2013, Garber said the league was making progress in discussions with the Falcons and that the stadium situation was finalized. Negotiations continued with Courtemanche saying in January 2014 that Atlanta "remains a great prospect for MLS expansion," and in February 2014, Rich McKay confirming the parties were "far along in negotiations."
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 SC 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.
Atlanta lost their first regular season MLS game 2–1 to New York Red Bulls at Bobby Dodd Stadium with 55,297 in attendance. Yamil Asad scored the goal, becoming the first goalscorer in club history. A week later, they registered their first MLS win on the road with a 6–1 away defeat of fellow expansion team Minnesota United FC. Atlanta United registered their first MLS home win on March 18, 2017 against Chicago Fire who were down to ten men in the eleventh minute, with a 4–0 final score front of a sold-out Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Colors and badge
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" (the colors used by the Falcons when they launched in 1966).
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. Franchise president Darren Eales explained that the name was chosen based on a survey of the team's supporters and used words the supporters most positively related to the potential team. 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.
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. The team's official colors are black (a symbol of strength and power), victory red (representing pride and passion), and gold (epitomizing a commitment to excellence). The team has become unofficially known as "The Five Stripes" based on the five pillars of the club. 
On October 5, 2016, the club announced that it would play its home matches in the first half of the 2017 MLS season at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium until Mercedes-Benz Stadium is ready. While the club sought a balanced home and away schedule for their duration at Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta United did not play at home for most of April to avoid conflicts with the Yellow Jackets' spring football scrimmages. According to club officials, the Georgia Dome was not considered a viable option to temporarily host the club, as delaying the Dome's planned demolition would also delay the completion of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Atlanta will begin play in 2017 in the retractable-roof stadium being built for the Falcons and United in downtown Atlanta. While the stadium has a capacity of up to 83,000, it can be reduced to 40,000 for the MLS team. Stands will be retractable to accommodate a larger field 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." In January 2016 it was announced the opening of the stadium was pushed back three months to June 2017. Atlanta United was originally scheduled to move into Mercedes-Benz Stadium on July 30, 2017; however, the complexity of the eight-panel retractable roof has caused another delay in the stadium's opening, and the club's first match in the new stadium is scheduled for September 9, 2017 against FC Dallas. The match against Orlando City SC was moved to Bobby Dodd Stadium for July 29, 2017 while two home fixtures scheduled in August would be moved to later dates.
In August 2015, Atlanta United FC announced plans for training facilities and team headquarters.
Team owner Arthur M. Blank is an American businessman and a co-founder of The Home Depot. He is also known for his philanthropy and his ownership of the Atlanta Falcons in the National Football League.
Out on loan
|22||Defender||Ambrose, MikeyMikey Ambrose (on loan to Charleston Battery)||United States|
|23||Goalkeeper||Tabakis, AlexandrosAlexandros Tabakis (on loan to Charleston Battery)||Greece|
|31||Forward||Otoo, JeffreyJeffrey Otoo (on loan to Charleston Battery)||Ghana|
|33||Forward||Williams, RomarioRomario Williams (on loan to Charleston Battery)||Jamaica|
17 - On February 10, 2017, Atlanta United announced that the number 17 would be reserved for the fans. The number marks the year of the teams first inaugural season in the MLS. Atlanta United aims to recognize that from the very beginning, the fans, the city, and the people define the spirit and essence of this club.
Rights to all Atlanta United FC matches not broadcast by Major League Soccer's national television partners are held by Fox Sports Networks. Most of the team's games will be televised by either Fox Sports South or Fox Sports Southeast, which will also carry team programming. A small number of matches will be broadcast on over-the-air television by WUPA in the event of scheduling conflicts with the two channels. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
|Head coach||Martino, GerardoGerardo Martino||Argentina|
|Assistant coach||Sala, DaríoDarío Sala||Argentina|
|Assistant coach||Theiler, JorgeJorge Theiler||Argentina|
|Goalkeeping coach||Hyde, AronAron Hyde||England|
|Head of sports science||Alexander, RyanRyan Alexander||United States|
|Owner||Blank, ArthurArthur Blank||United States|
|President||Eales, DarrenDarren Eales||England|
|Technical director||Bocanegra, CarlosCarlos Bocanegra||United States|
|Vice president||Rodriguez, AnnAnn Rodriguez||United States|
|Academy director||Annan, TonyTony Annan||United States|
|Academy director of soccer operations||McDonough, PaulPaul McDonough||United States|
Atlanta United currently has four Supporter Groups identified on their homepage: Terminus Legion, Resurgence, Footie Mob, and the Faction.
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.
By December 2015, the supporters of the new MLS team had already pledged to purchase more than 29,000 season tickets.
On July 12, 2016 Atlanta United announced American Family Insurance as their primary jersey sponsor for the senior team. The terms and length of the contract between the team and the new sponsor have not yet been disclosed. SunTrust Bank, a local Atlanta company, is the official kit sponsor at the academy level.
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