Posts Tagged ‘ Georgia Revolution ’

Scarf Collection

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I’ve become a groundhopper, not to the extent of Paul Gerald or Peter Miles or Tony Incenzo, but I take pics, talk to people and write posts about teams, supporters and venues in the United States. But what about swag? As a big kit nerd, the obvious choice would be to get a shirt at each match, but that strategy has a couple of problems: 1) not every team has a merch store or even jerseys for sale; 2) at $55 to $100 a pop, a one stop/one shirt policy could get pricey; and 3) where would I put them all? I don’t have a mancave (yet) and as much as I would love to wear a different jersey every day, society and my workplace frown upon that.

So my solution has been to pick up a scarf at each game I attend. This strategy has paid off in several ways. Scarves are almost always available at games, and if not, readily available on club websites. Plus at $25 to $35 each, this is the better option financially. On top of that, scarves are packable and easy to display.

Here is my current collection:

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Favorite Teams

Manchester United–The club team I have been supporting for 20 years. One day I will make it to Old Trafford. C’mon you Reds!!

US Soccer–I have seen several US games over the years , and I continuing to engage my own country instead of wishing I was Croatian or Dutch or almost anything else.

Atlanta United–MLS club kicking off in 2017. I’m a season ticket holder and can’t wait for the team to launch and play their first game at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

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Groundhops

Seattle Sounders–One of my first trips and had an awesome time.

Chicago Fire–Used to watch them at Soldier Field. Saw the new home out in the middle of nowhere.

Portland TimbersStood with Timbers Army in a very unique environment.

Columbus CrewSaw one of the first games at this Soccer Specific Stadium and have been several times since.

FC DallasAnother facility out in the middle of nowhere but Dallas Beer Guardians more than made up for it.

DC UnitedGot to see DC United at RFK before they move to the new ground.

Houston DynamoAmazing venue and hopefully the team returns it past glory.

Atlanta Silverbacks–Former NASL team playing in NPSL, I have been to many games and worked for the Reserves team.

Charleston Battery–Fantastic USL team with great supporters playing an intimate venue filled with soccer memorabilia.

Lansing United–The club launched the summer before I left Lansing and is doing things right on and off the pitch.

Detroit City FC–My first taste of real supporter culture. It has been wonderful keeping an eye on this team from the first days.

Nashville FC–Vanderbilt Stadium wasn’t the greatest venue but wonderful fans.

Chattanooga FC–Love going up to Chattanooga. Real passion behind a successful NPSL club.

Birmingham Hammers–Met some fired up supporters for the Hammers’ first season. Looking forward to going back.

Georgia Revolution–Under new ownership, this club is providing players a stepping stone to next level.

Knoxville Force (Scruffy City Syndicate)–Growing club with ardent supporters, playing right in downtown Knoxville.

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Miscellaneous

Juventus–Fell in love with Alessandro Del Piero and followed the bianconeri until I decided to focus my soccer supporting efforts.

MSU Spartans–Went to many a game at DeMartin Stadium during my time in Lansing.

World Cup 2022–My wife won this in a raffle. It’s the scarf from the US 2022 World Cup bid.

American Outlaws Atlanta. I love hanging out with these passionate supporters of US Soccer.

Terminus Legion 2015–Joined this Supporter Group at the intersection of Atlanta and Soccer in 2015 after moving to Atlanta in 2014.

Terminus Legion 2016–Re-upped and run the soccer team and host the Terminus Legion podcast.

The General–Special edition summer scarf produced by Terminus Legion to celebrate the history of Atlanta.

Soccer in the Streets–An amazing organization that brings soccer to underserved youth in Atlanta. Just launched Station Soccer, a pitch on top of a transit station.

Castleberry Hill AC–An organization looking to use soccer to improve their community. Currently trying to build Old Trenholm in the shadow of Mercedes Benz Stadium.

 

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Top three scarves I have come across. . .

fire-scarf

I usually buy the team scarf at each match but when I was at the Chicago Fire tailgate, I saw people walking around this scarf and knew that I had to have it. The scarf tweaks the Chicago city flag, using navy blue bands to frame the edges instead of the sky blue and then uses the four red stars through the middle. Great looking piece.

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While standing with Timbers Army, I spotted a Battlestar Portlandia. Having just come out of my Battlestar Galactica geek phase, I really loved the merging of pop culture and sport. Doubt I will ever get my hands but one of these but a really slick design.

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A scarf from Detroit City FC’s inaugural season is one of my favorite scarves. All the design elements come together, with of color scheme of rouge and dark yellow, a clean font and the argyle print adding a wonderful touch. DCFC has absolutely crushed it from a brand and merch perspective from day one.

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If you want to see a real scarf collection, visit Kenny’s Football Scarves. He has over 2000 pieces organized by league and region.

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Read more about my groundhops and supporter group interactions at the SoccerNomad blog. Also check out the SoccerNomad podcast, which focuses on Supporter Groups and kit design. Finally follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Summer of Soccer

Another busy, wonderful, hot summer is in the books. 2016 truly was the summer of soccer with Copa America Centenario, Euro 2016, and the Olympics, plus all the levels of US Soccer in season. Here’s a quick look back at my summer.

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(photo courtesy of Forrest Collins)

May saw me check another team off of the list. I headed to Birmingham to see the Hammers first ever NPSL home game. They hosted Chattanooga FC and fell 1-0, but something special is in place both for the team and the supporters group Magic City Brigade.

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(photo courtesy of Atlanta Manchester United Supporters)

The following weekend was exhausting as I watched the FA Cup Final at Fado Midtown with the Atlanta Manchester United Supporters and Crystal Palace ATL. An amazing crowd and a thrilling victory for the Reds. Voice gone, memories made.

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(photo courtesy of Soccer in the Streets)

The next day was the Atlanta Champions League, a fundraiser for Soccer in the Streets. I played with Madridistas ATL and while the results didn’t go our way, we had a great day.

The month wrapped up with the Champions League Final, which I watched downtown at Bottle Rocket with my friends from Castleberry Hill. Real Madrid secured Una Decima on penalties with CR7 sealing the victory.

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Started June by taking in another NPSL games. Larry and I headed to Knoxville for the Force against Nashville FC. A spectacular goal won the three points for the hosts and earned them a Volunteers Shield win as well. Despite the weather, we had a great time and met some great people.

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(photo of Alex Quispe)

Big tournaments on two continents kicked off, with the United States hosting Copa America Centenario and France welcoming Euro 2016. Work got in the way and I tried to catch as much as I could. Besides watching the summer tournaments at home, I was able to catch games at Rose and Crown and even got to watch Germany v Italy at Der Biergarten with Mia San ATL. I watched the final of both competitions at Fado Buckhead with hundreds of soccer fans.

With the Euros and Copa America in full swing, Erin and I joined Terminus Legion at Wild Heaven Brewery and then went to the Georgia Revolution/Knoxville Force friendly in Conyers. It was a full day of beer, Panini sticker albums, fellowship and footy.

Saw the Revolution again the following weekend against the Atlanta Silverbacks at Silverbacks Park. The Silverbacks won the game and eventually made it all the way to the Regional Semi Finals before losing to Miami FC.

I celebrated five years of the SoccerNomad blog in July. Hard to believe it’s been that long. The blog has seen several changes in terms of frequency and topics but two topics are always on tap: memories and kits.

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(photo courtesy of Lariana Michelle Photography)

Towards the end of the month, I was lucky enough to be part of the organizing committee for the first ever #ATLSoccerCon. This event brought together soccer fans from around Atlanta andthem  a chance to look at kits, play Subbuteo and hang out. The afternoon was highlighted by a Meet and Greet with the US Paralympic National Team. Photos here.

The month ended with the MLS All Star game in San Jose. Terminus Legion got together at Rose and Crown to watch the Gunners defeat the best of MLS 2-1.

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August saw the Terminus Legion soccer team win their first ever playoff game in the Sons of Pitches Sunday Supporters League. We defeated LFC Atlanta in the quarter finals after a penalty shootout. Unfortunately we lost in the next round but another great session for the team. Later that month, European soccer started back up and I watched the Community Shield with the Manchester United Supporters of Atlanta the Brewhouse.

A great summer of footy action and looking forward to another great season. Have a couple of trips in the works so look for posts on those.

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Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

Summer 2015–Ground Hopping

Due to changes in life, namely geography and finances, I scaled back on my MLS stadium tour. After several interactions with fellow groundhoppers, I decided to check out lower league grounds in the Southeast.

First up was Charleston. For Memorial Day, the family headed to South Carolina to visit with friends and I made sure there was a Charleston Battery home game that weekend as well. My son and I headed to Blackbaud Stadium and met with Queen Anne’s Revenge and the Regiment for the tailgate. We played a quick game of FIFA 15 and then joined the group for the stadium tour.

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What an amazing experience. The President of the Charleston Battery led us through the facility, pointing out items in a priceless collection of jerseys, pennants, programs, programs and more. I was in #KitNerd heaven. I didn’t get to see the Manchester United suite and it’s probably better because I may have not left without a police escort.

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We back to the tailgate and checked out the wonderful spread put out by the Regiment. Pre-game festivities were wrapped up with a march and taking our places in Section E1. During the match, there was this kid leading the cheers, and it was awesome seeing the supporter culture passed down the generations.

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The quality of the match wasn’t spectacular, although the opening goal from the Battery was well crafted. Charlotte equalized with a dodgy penalty and after that chances were few and far between. The USL match ended in a 1-1 draw.

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The ground itself is well designed with two stands, with one for the press box and suites and box seats and the other a stand of bleachers. Each end is open and allows for different activities, food and walking areas.

Next up was Nashville, TN. Took a Greyhound to the match. Figured why spend four hours in a car by myself just listening to music and podcasts when I could get stuff done? Did some writing and blog work and watched a movie on the way. The bus was 45 minutes late leaving, which I’m learning is par for the course on these trips.

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Once I got into the Music City I walked to Vanderbilt Stadium. Mild misfire on my part. A three mile hike in 90 degree heat was not one of my best decisions. I walked up to the gate just before kickoff and was met with a ticket line out to the street. I finally got in, bought my scarf and took a seat.

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(photo courtesy of Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves)

The match rewarded me for my efforts. Nashville opened the scoring as their right winger torched the Reserves left back. But almost immediately from the kickoff Janny Rivera hit a 30+ yard bomb that crashed the underside of the crossbar and in. A real thunderbastard of a goal. The teams traded goals in the second half, and as the clock clicked closer to full time, Santos Ramirez popped up with a header to secure the vital points. Jubilation from the visitors as they headed back to Atlanta.

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My next trip was a virtual home game as the Reserves met the Georgia Revolution. The Revolution play at the Rockdale Youth Soccer Association complex in Conyers,GA, a little bit of a hike for me, especially in traffic. Several heavy thunderstorms through the day had made the pitch quite soggy, with several areas of standing water. Both teams had trouble finding their rhythm and the first half was a disjointed, scrappy affair. The second half was scintillating. A mistake by the Revolution left back allowed the Reserves winger in and his cross was met at the back post. The hosts responded quickly and then took the lead with grass cutter free kick. The Reserves levelled after some cool nerves in the penalty area. The visitors pushed on for the win but the Revolution won the day as a free kick was flicked on to the far post and knocked home.

I’m hoping to make one more trip this fall, but follow these guys on twitter or search #Groundhopping to read insightful trips from around Europe:

  • Alex Baker (@alexpieter)
  • Peter Miles (@PeterRMiles)
  • Groundhopper (@Groundhopping1)

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Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

MatchDay Memory–History of ATL Soccer (Part II)

Recently my family moved to Atlanta to start the next chapter in our lives.  As part of settling in I started researching the history of soccer in Atlanta, expecting to focus on the Silverbacks and the new MLS team which starts play in 2017.  To my surprise I learned that soccer has been in city since the 1960’s and is full of interesting stories and characters.  So here we go . . .

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USISL

The 1990’s saw a combination of indoor and outdoor teams in the Atlanta area.  It appears that there was an indoor/outdoor team in SISL, which was a league that started in 1986 as the Southwest Indoor Soccer League, then became the Southwest Independent Soccer League in 1989 and was renamed the Sunbelt Independent Soccer League in 1990.  Hope you got all that because there will be a quiz at the end.  The Atlanta Express started in 1990 but became the Gwinnett County Steamers.  At the same time another club played as the Georgia Steamers, which became the Atlanta Quicksilver and then the Atlanta Lightning.  These two entities had disbanded by 1992.

The Atlanta Magic/Lasers started in 1991 and played in both the indoor and outdoor divisions of the USISL.  The USISL or United States Interregional Soccer League was a continuation of the SISL. The league went through several name changes, which I will discuss shortly.  As for the team, it found much greater success indoors, finishing first and making the championship game in each of the five years of their existence.  Outdoor play was a different proposition and they folded after 2 games in the 1995 season, with the indoor team ending after the 95/96 season.

Originally the Magic were supposed to play in the American Professional Soccer League for the 1995 season but owner Sam Chase created the Atlanta Ruckus and several players moved to this new entity.  After a financial injection by South African businessman Johnny Imerman, the Ruckus began play in 1995 and made the American Professional Soccer League or A-League Final against Seattle but lost.

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Quick tangent about the APSL.  When I first started following the beautiful game in the mid-90’s, I was aware of the A-League, which turned out was a branding term for the American Professional Soccer League (APSL).  I didn’t know that at the time, but in researching different Atlanta based teams, I noticed the league name came and went and didn’t match my notions of what I thought it was.  Here’s the reason why.  The APSL existed from 1990 to 1996, with teams from the United States and Canada.  The league never received First Division status but, until the emergence of MLS, the APSL was the US’s top league.  Eventually the league re-named itself the A-League in 95 and 96 before becoming part of the United Soccer Leagues, which is what the USISL re-named itself.  The name A-League stayed until 2004 when the USL changed it to the USL First Division.

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Financial difficulties would plague the Ruckus, with the club being sold in 1996 and then operated by the league in 1998.  A new ownership group would take charge and renamed the team the Atlanta Silverbacks for the 1999 season. (The name was in honor of Willie B., a silverback gorilla who was a star attraction at the zoo.) Stability finally arrived but onfield success did not.  The Silverbacks only made two playoff appearances (2002 and 2007) between the inaugural season and 2009.  At the end of the 2007 campaign, the Silverbacks again lost to the Sounders in the Final. In 2009, the club then went on hiatus as preparations were made for the re-launch of the North American Soccer League.

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In reviewing the roster of this entity, here were the notable players that I recognized.  John Doyle was a defender on the 1990 World Cup team and had experience in Sweden and Germany before playing with the Ruckus in 1995 while waiting for the MLS to start up.  He played five years in the MLS before retiring in 2000.

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Doyle’s teammate in 1995 was Bruce Murray.  This was a name I had heard of but didn’t know too much about.  Turns out he played all three games at the 1990 World Cup and was the US Men’s National Team leading scorer when he retired in 1995, playing one season with the Ruckus.

While the Silverbacks were on hiatus, several minor league soccer entities occupied the Atlanta Soccer space.

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Atlanta FC joined the NPSL for the 2008 season, playing in the Southeast Conference.  They won the Conference title in their inaugural campaign but lost to the St. Paul Twin Stars in the Divisional Round.  The NPSL was a much different league in 2008, with only 25 teams in six single table conferences without the national scope that the league has today.  Compare that to the 2014 season, in which the NPSL had over 70 teams playing in four regions with at least three divisions each.

The club was not able to match that success in the following seasons, failing to make the postseason for the next four campaigns.  On the plus side, Atlanta FC did make the first round proper of the US Open Cup in 2009 but lost to the Charleston Battery.  The team was renamed the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves for the 2011 season, which provided a link to the recently formed NASL team.

After a year on hiatus during the 2013 season, the club returned to the NPSL and made the playoffs in 2014.  The Silverbacks Reserves tied eventual league runner up Chattanooga FC for the division title but fell in the opening round of the playoffs to the New Orleans Jesters.  Over the years, the team has provided Ramiro Canovas, Luis Sandoval, Janny Rivera, Ryan Roushandel, Rury Alvarez, and Eric Ati to the first team.

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The Atlanta Blackhawks joined the USL-PDL, a part of the fourth division of the US Soccer Pyramid, in 2009.  Notably, Sean Johnson, currently at the Chicago Fire, played on the team in the first season.  Unfortunately the team folded after two seasons but had the best looking logo of the teams I came upon in my research.  The club was owned by Massoud Roushandel, who I found out is one of the most successful youth coaches in Georgia soccer.  In a blurb upon his hire at the USL Front Office, these impressive achievements were noted:

two National Champions, five Region III Championships and 13 State Championships in Georgia. Roushandel has helped to place dozens of players on NCAA Division I soccer teams, US Youth National Teams and in Major League Soccer. 

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The Georgia Revolution joined the NPSL in 2011 and created a local rival for the Silverbacks Reserves.  The team was the result of the efforts of the Rockdale Youth Soccer Association and play their matches in Conyers, Georgia, which is about 25 miles east of downtown Atlanta.  The club has had moderate success in their first three seasons, winning a division title in 2012, along with a couple of second place finishes.  Their 2012 playoff run ended in the first round, where they lost to Chattanooga FC, who would go on to the NPSL Final.  Georgia Revolution also qualified for two US Open Cup 1st Round Propers in 2012 and 2013 but lost to the Atlanta Silverbacks both times.  The team had a forgettable 2014 campaign in an expanded South Region, only winning one match.

The next post will look at the NASL Silverbacks.

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These posts are based on internet research so may be incorrect or incomplete. Please reach out to me at austinlong1974@gmail.com with any comments or corrections.