After the 2014 North American Soccer League season supporters of the Silverbacks didn’t know if they will see their club play next season. Supporters of the club raised awareness on twitter to Save The Silverbacks. Supporters created an alliance group called Silverbacks Alliance Council. Their mission is to explore ways in which supporters & ownership can work together to improve the game day experience & grow the club. During the offseason , when nobody knew if the club will return , the alliance group set up a protest , where the supporters showed their love for their club , and send a message to the league and the commissioner that the Silverbacks should return. After the league saw all the support that the Silverbacks should return , the league made a decision.
On December 2, 2014 the NASL announced that the league will operate the Atlanta Silverbacks.”We have tremendous belief in the Atlanta market, and we know that we can have long-term success there,” said NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson. “Silverbacks fans are among the most passionate in the league, and they deserve a committed ownership group that will run the team at a high level for years to come.” ”
” The Greater Atlanta area is one of the biggest sports markets in the country, and the number of people involved in soccer is staggering.” Peterson said. “Our commitment to the global game and our emphasis on a competitive structure has resulted in unprecedented growth and momentum. We are confident today that the NASL will thrive in Atlanta for decades to come.”
It is great that the league wants to save the Silverbacks. They are in a very exciting market . With MLS Atlanta coming in the league in 2017 , some people think that the Silverbacks cant survive. They could still be around when the MLS club enters if they find a good ownership group that advertises , invests in the team , and finds a home for the club , since they don’t own Silverbacks park the league is renting it for the season.
With the league taking over the Silverbacks the question is how long are they committed for . The First Team Podcast , a New York Cosmos supporter podcast , had NASL commissioner Bill Peterson on the show. Bill said that ” the league is committed to the Atlanta market just for this season”. Bill also revealed if the league doesn’t find a ownership this season , the league will than relocate the Silverbacks. Relocating the Silverbacks is not an ideal option because you have die- hard fans that already support the club , and if they leave it will really hurt them and that market. Hopefully the league finds an ownership group , that has a long-term plan to be successful in Atlanta .
The Silverbacks could be successful , when the MLS team enters. In other markets there is NASL , and MLS clubs competing against each other. For example: New York Cosmos ( NASL) , New York RedBulls and New York City FC (MLS) . These 3 teams are competitive and successful in their area of New York. If the Silverbacks find a new ownership group they may have to move a bit farther from where MLS Atlanta will call home. Hopefully the NASL finds an ownership group that is committed to the Atlanta market and will bring success on the pitch and off.