FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Atlanta United FC – A Community Perspective
Atlanta, GA USA, Thursday, July 23, 2015
this article appears originally in Old Fourth Ward Today Magazine at http://www.o4wca.org/store/
It’s official. Atlanta United FC is Major League Soccer’s 22nd franchise. The announcement came at an exclusive celebration event on Tuesday, July 7, where Atlanta United Owner Arthur Blank, President Darren Eales, Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra and Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber officially revealed the team name, logo and colors.
On a sultry Tuesday evening barely a mile from where the team will take the pitch at its new world-class stadium in the spring of 2017, Atlanta welcomed their freshly-christened MLS franchise in typical Atlanta style.
Nearly 4,500 Founder’s Club members, celebrities and soccer aficionados gathered in standing room only fashion, to usher in a new era in Atlanta sports and drink in the team’s new name, colors and official logo.
Club Owner “Uncle Arthur” Blank and President Darren Eales called for a celebration. To say Atlanta brought its “A” game is a glaring understatement.
The event, held in honor of members of the Atlanta United Founder’s Club, took place at the SOHO Lounge in midtown Atlanta. The 4,000+ fans in attendance included city officials, celebrities and professional sports figures. The event was emceed by Rachel Bonnetta, host of MLSsoccer.com.
The event began with fanfare courtesy of the soccer supporters group Terminus Legion. Blank took the stage to drums rolling and chants of “Uncle Arthur.”
“Tonight represents a milestone moment for our city, for our club and for soccer fans across the region,” Blank said. “It’s the next step in the journey toward 2017 for Atlanta United, and we are ready to make our mark in MLS and in global soccer.
“When we announced the club in 2014, I promised three things: to put a winning team on the field, to provide a great match day experience for our fans, and to entrench this club into the community. We’re on our way to fulfilling those promises, and I look forward to sharing the excitement of building this club with our incredible supporters.
I always believe in under promising and over delivering. It’s been a core philosophy of mine throughout my life, so I think we have to stay super serious about this. We have to stay super focused, and while tonight is a great milestone for us, it’s one milestone. We have a long way to go to bring the team on the field; and to have the kind of team organization that we want to have.
This will be a major notch in the belt of Atlanta, not mine, in the belt of Atlanta, and it will be a great tribute to this wonderful city, and great region. I have great confidence in Atlanta and a great faith in the people that live here.
One of my core philosophies in life is that there is no finish line, and I think as it relates to this, there is no finish line. Tonight is a major step in the right direction, but there is still an awful lot of work to go.”
The highlight of the event came when the official club name, logo and colors were revealed through a video narrated by renowned soccer commentator Jon Champion.
Former Premier League player, and current Atlanta United President Darren Eales described the significance of the name and logo.
“The word ‘United’ has long been associated with the beautiful game around the world,” said Eales. “It has particular resonance for Atlanta: as a transport hub in the Southeast, as a multi-cultural, international city and as a club committed to community.
“The most exciting part of tonight’s celebration is that the Atlanta United story has yet to be written. Our fans have already proven to be some of the most passionate I’ve seen, and we look forward to engaging them in shaping many elements of our club identity still to come.”
I played here 20 years ago, and it was a lot different then. I can remember playing in the league, and the biggest cheer was when the goalkeeper punted the ball high in the air. What’s changed is the soccer fan now in America is very cultured. They’re knowledgeable, and you’ve seen it in tonight’s event.
If you go to a Portland Timbers game, they understand the game. They are credible fans. They don’t want noise piped in during the game. They’re proper, authentic fans; and to be honest with you, I think the fans in America now give the British Premiere League a run for their money.”
Added Don Garber: “Tonight has over delivered on our expectations. I was in Vancouver on Sunday, and I had to make that choice, you know: do I come home and hop back on a plane? Arthur Blank said, ‘We only do things that are special for the community.’ This is overwhelming, I actually got a little choked up standing in the audience watching the brand reveal. It’s going to be huge here. I encourage people to come out, to support this team, support your city.”
After Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra closed the program, Bonnetta prompted the crowd to unfurl a large banner overhead featuring the club logo and new team hashtag, #ATLUTD.
About Old Fourth Ward Today Magazine
About Atlanta United
Atlanta United brings Major League Soccer to the Southeast as the league’s 22nd franchise. The club’s avid fan base has set records in fan participation with 21,500 seats reserved to date for the 2017 inaugural season.
The first sports team to play in the state-of-the-art New Atlanta Stadium currently under construction downtown, Atlanta United is owned by one of the city’s most influential businessmen and philanthropists, Arthur M. Blank, and is led by club President Darren Eales. For more information about Atlanta United, including how to become a Founding Member, visit: www.atlutd.com.
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