Saturday, May 14th, AFC Mobile kick off their preseason with a trip to the confines of Silverback Park to take on the Atlanta Silverbacks of the National Premier Soccer League. This will be a tough test for the Azaleas as they begin on their path towards the Gulf Coast Premier League regular season. There are few teams in the southeastern United States like the Silverbacks. In fact, there are few teams in American soccer like them. Atlanta Silverback supporter Paul F. Scanling breaks down why the Silverbacks are special in American soccer and what AFC Mobile can expect to see when they make the trek to historic Silverback Park.
CLUB: Atlanta Silverbacks FC
HOME: Atlanta Silverback Park, 3200 Atlanta Silverbacks Way, Atlanta, GA 30340
HISTORY: The Atlanta Silverbacks trace their history back to the Atlanta Ruckus, which began play in 1995. The name change came in the fall of 1998 to honor longtime Zoo Atlanta icon Willie B., a silverback gorilla named after former Atlanta Mayor William B. Hartsfield. The club has participated in the A League, the USL and the NASL in the past and now competes in the NPSL. The club plays at Silverbacks Park, located at the intersection of I-75 and I-285, also known as Spaghetti Junction.
Twice losers to the Seattle Sounders in the championship round, the Silverbacks have also made it to the Quarterfinals of the US Open Cup, beating both Colorado and Real Salt Lake in that competition. USMNT Legend Eric Wynalda managed the Silverbacks during that run. The current version of the club has won trophies the last two seasons in the NPSL.
The Silverbacks have reached an agreement with the Silverbacks Trust to facilitate fan ownership, making the Silverbacks one of only a few teams in America that are focused on and supporting fan ownership.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Keka Kamara – the United Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year and first team All-American, will undoubtedly be a player climbing the American soccer pyramid. Meanwhile, new captain Sheriff Suma, returning players Abdul Bangura, and Mohammed Issahaku will also test the Azaleas early and often. In goal, Bryce Billington returns to the Backs after a year playing with the Georgia Revolution.
The club can be found at www.atlantasilverbacksfc.com, on twitter @atlsilverbacks and has a YouTube channel. The Trust can be found online at asfctrust.org and on Twitter at @asfctrust.