Atlanta team confirmed for MLS
Atlanta has been confirmed as the next team to join the United States MLS competition, with kick-off predicted for 2017.
April 17th, 2014
Atlanta, Georgia; not the sexiest of cities now that you mention it. It doesn’t have the cosmopolitan clout of a New York, nor the sun-kissed beaches of Miami – or the most famous footballer in the world as an owner – but just three years from now we’ll be seeing this southern Belle debut in the MLS.
David Beckham made huge headlines in the UK when he founded the as-yet unnamed Miami-based team just a month or so ago; of course, the man makes headlines wherever he goes, so naturally the publicity is good for an American league which has only just started to become profitable once the head honchos decided that playing in half-empty American football stadiums wasn’t exactly bringing in the Benjis.
But the news announced yesterday that the 22nd MLS team will be based in Atlanta hasn’t got anywhere near British screens – despite the fact that their plans have already advanced further with the decision on a stadium already made.
As I sarcastically pointed out earlier, Atlanta’s not usually the first port of call for anyone looking for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the States, but the ninth-largest city in the country already has its hands full with local ball game organisations.
Already in Atlanta you’ll find the Falcons throwing balls to people from odd-looking scrums; the Hawks bouncing them into hoops; and the Braves hitting them with sticks. The Thrashers were there too; they used even stranger-looking sticks to hit small rubber discs around an ice rink – until they realised there was no place for non-spherical object sports and moved to Canada where that sort of thing is encouraged. The same did for Georgia-based wrestling company WCW at the turn of the millennium, but they took the difficult decision to collapse in on themselves under massive contracts and massive egos instead.
So with a ‘soccer’ team ready to move in, is there a place for the rumoured Phoenix in Atlanta? According to DIY emperor and co-owner of the Falcons, Arthur Blank, there is:
“We are very excited to bring a Major League Soccer team to Atlanta,” he said. “We are going to build a first-class organization on and off the field that will be a source of pride for the entire community, and we believe our downtown stadium will become a destination for soccer fans throughout the Southeast for many years to come.”
Work is underway on a new stadium which the MLS side will share with the Falcons.