Posts Tagged ‘ New York Cosmos ’

Summer 2015–Recap

My move to the ATL has provided many opportunities to interact with fellow fans of the beautiful game—pick up games, watch parties, Silverback games, you name it—and this summer I got a taste of it all.

mensing raul

(Photo courtesy of Atlanta Silverbacks)

Starting with the Atlanta Silverbacks, the spring started off with the season opener for the home team as they hosted Indy Eleven. A late penalty saw the visitors get a share of the points but the Silverbacks had a strong start to the season, with a rock solid defense keeping the ‘Backs in most matches. Raul and the NY Cosmos were shut out in the following match and it was an honor to see such a legend, which I got to discuss with the Pena Madridista Atlanta.

section 904

(Photo courtesy of Lariana Michelle Photography)

Later in the season, the Jacksonville Armada came calling and we got to interact with Section 904 during the tailgate. (Full post here) The last home match of the Spring Season saw the San Antonio Scorpions roll into town. A single goal from the defending NASL Champions won the match and the Silverbacks finished the season dead last after the opening 10 games.

footgolf

(Photo courtesy of Terminus Legion)

3 v 3

(Photo courtesy of Atlanta Silverbacks)

To distract from the woes of the home team, Terminus Legion put on several events including a FootGolf Tournament and a 3 v 3 Tournament. Larry and I paired up at Steel Canyon and had a great afternoon. We helped raised money and awareness for Soccer in the Streets and played with an awesome group of guys. In June, TL teamed up with Red Brick Brewing and DragonGoal USA to put on the first ever Gold Pint 3 v 3 Tournament. I put together a team of TL members and local bloggers and . . . we went 0fer. Managed one draw against many, many losses, but at the end there was beer, so all was well.

 

us v nigeria

 (Photo courtesy of Jorge Alonso)

With the Silverbacks on break or playing away from home, the summer saw the focus turn to the Women’s World Cup and the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Made my first trip to Diesel, a bar located in the Virginia Highlands area of Atlanta for the USWNT game against Nigeria. Not the greatest 90 minutes of soccer but we had the Silverbacks US Open Cup game and Copa America to distract us.

sb chatt

 (Photo courtesy of Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves)

The Silverbacks Reserves were also in action this summer, and I was able to get involved with the team. Instead of coaching or playing, I got to experience the administrative side of the game, taking care of paperwork, communicating with other teams and managing game day operations for home games. The squad, playing the National Premier Soccer League, was a mix of recently graduated college/university players, players looking to climb the ladder and veterans. Jason Longshore and I recapped the season.

xelaju goal

xelaju fans

(Photos courtesy of Reto Sports)

The squad finished the season against Guatemalan team Xelaju MC. The five time national champions visited the city as part of the Reto Cup. Terminus Legion got there early to tailgate and watch the US/Cuba game, but we were nearly drowned as a torrential downpour lasted almost an hour. Once the rain cleared, hundreds of Xelaju fans streamed into James R. Hallford Stadium and provided amazing support with chants and flags and banner and smoke. The visitors ran out 2-0 winners and were good value for money, especially #10 and #24.

ao

(Photo courtesy of Alynne Carol Grace)

barnes

(Photo courtesy of Goal.com)

A couple of days later, Atlanta hosted the Gold Cup Semi Finals and I totally made a hash of it. With two games at 6pm and 9pm ET, I thought for sure the US would play the later game. Plus I thought that tickets would be easy to get with the seating situation, shall we say, fluid. No, no and no. The US was locked into the 6pm game, which did several things: made it impossible for me to tailgate, made it impossible to go home first and made it almost impossible to get there from work, even though I work just minutes away. By the time I realized my error regarding timing, all the tickets were sold out, which scuppered my chances of just buying a cheap ticket and then standing with Terminus Legion or the American Outlaws. CONCACAF was very clear that your seat was your seat. Combine all this with important kickball commitments and you can see how I got it all wrong. I followed the match during my kickball game and was shocked at the 2-0 halftime score. An update provided the news of the Bradley goal, and I was able to watch the last 15 or 20 minutes at a local bar.

Another summer full of soccer and can’t wait for the European Leagues to get into full swing and the playoff pushes in NASL and Major League Soccer.

What did you do this summer? Let me know in the comments below.

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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 III)

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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nasl logo

In 2011, the Atlanta Silverbacks were part of the new North America Soccer League, which became the second division of the US Soccer Pyramid.  In reading about the formation of the league, I learned that a group of USL teams wanted to break away to create their own league, which eventually received USSF sanction and started play in 2011.  The original 8 teams were:

  • Tampa Bay Rowdies
  • Fort Lauderdale Strikers
  • Atlanta Silverbacks
  • Carolina Railhawks
  • FC Edmonton
  • Minnesota United FC
  • Montreal Impact
  • Puerto Rico Islanders

silverbacks

After two unsuccessful seasons, the Silverbacks won the Spring Championship in 2013.  Because of this, Atlanta hosted the New York Cosmos but lost in the 2013 Soccer Bowl.  The NASL now runs with a Spring Season and a Fall Season, and teams make the playoffs as follows:

As of 2014, the NASL Spring Season and Fall Season champions qualify for the playoffs (excuse me The Championship) and host a semi final match.  If the same club wins both seasons, the clubs with the second, third and fourth best overall records from both seasons combined will qualify for the playoffs.  Their opponents are the clubs with the next best overall records from both seasons combined. The semi final winners then compete in The Championship final (aka the Soccer Bowl).

The current roster of the NASL includes these eleven teams:

  • Tampa Bay Rowdies
  • Fort Lauderdale Strikers
  • Atlanta Silverbacks
  • Carolina Railhawks
  • FC Edmonton
  • Minnesota United FC
  • San Antonio Scorpions
  • New York Cosmos
  • Indy Eleven
  • Ottawa Fury FC
  • Jacksonville Armada

Once I knew I was moving to Atlanta, I started researching the Silverbacks and this is how this post came to be.  In order to familiarize myself with the team, I ponied up $5 for a NASL video subscription and sat down to watch the Silverbacks’ clash with the New York Cosmos.  The match featured a great free kick by Burgos, but then after 22 minutes, the game was delayed about three and a half hours due to rain.  I didn’t wait around but saw the highlights next day. I watched a little bit of game against Fort Lauderdale and watched most of game away to San Antonio.  The match against the Scorpions was 0-0 at the half but two goals gave Scorpions win.  Sandoval scored a fantastic goal late to insert some drama into game.

sunset at silverbacks park

My next step was to attend a game, so the family went to down to Silverbacks Park to see the hosts play one of the top teams of the 2014 season—San Antonio Scorpions.  The club plays its home games at Atlanta Silverbacks Park, which houses a 5000-seat stadium. Based on attendance figures from Wikipedia and the Doherty Soccer blog, the club has been averaging over 4000 fans for the last three seasons.

In advance of the game, I reached out to Terminus Legion about hanging out with them at their tailgate.  They welcomed us with open arms and we were able to share a beer and a hot dog on a glorious fall evening.  May I say that the Brown Ale from Red Brick was quite tasty.

After cleaning up we marched to the stadium and took up our seats in section 301.  The weather was perfect and the group was ready to go.  Our capo was losing his voice during the match but we powered through. The Home Depot tool caddy, which served as our drum, was not so fortunate, and didn’t even make it to halftime. The Silverbacks played well and were unlucky to be on the wrong end of the 1-0 scoreline.  The hosts nearly scored in front of us on the Scorpion goalie, alternately called Barney and Grimace due to his purple shirt.

TL halloween

All in all a wonderful evening.  Picked up another scarf and made plans to make it back to Silverbacks Park before the end of the season.  I was able to attend the final regular season home against the Carolina Railhawks.  Again I tailgated with Terminus Legion, who had invited the die hard Railhawk fans who had made the trip over.  Another defeat but a great atmosphere was created by Terminus Legion, who got a girls youth team that was sitting next to us involved in some cheers.  The game ended with the Legion leading chants based around the theme keeping the Silverbacks, with the team’s future uncertain at that point.

During the 2014 season the team finished 8th with 3 wins 1 draw and 5 losses in the Spring.  The Fall campaign was not much better, with the Silverbacks at the bottom of the final combined table.

SOS banner

After the season Atlanta supporters groups came together in an effort for #SOS Save Our Silverbacks.  Several meetings were held both on and off line and it was great to see the creative juices following and arguments developed and assessed.  Efforts were made to increase awareness and be part of the solution, and a rally was held in early November to show the NASL, the media and the Atlanta Soccer community that there was a desire for a team, and the cause was picked up  on social media by supporter groups, who showed their support. The result of those efforts was that the league will run the team in 2015 while a search is made for a new ownership group.

SOS march

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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.