Atlanta United FC struck gold in its March Major League Soccer debut.
The culmination of three-plus years of planning came to a head in over 100,000 tickets sold in sellout crowds at Bobby Dodd Stadium in both games so far.
Ask any soccer coach across the region – while it was an impressive introduction, it’s not all that surprising given the base Atlanta United is working with.
“The soccer environment is fantastic,” said John Murphy, a former Anderson University and Clemson men’s soccer coach and nine-year MLS assistant. “You can’t ask for a better part of the country in regards to comprehensive soccer structure from the youth all the way to the pro level.”
Anderson University men’s soccer coach Michael Zion was part of a packed crowd for Atlanta United’s 4-0 win over the Chicago Fire in mid-March. He says having a regional major professional soccer team is exciting to see.
“They’re a brand-new team that’s selling out. People were into it,” Zion said. “It shows that Atlanta has a great fanbase and support for soccer.”
After a loss in the opener, Atlanta United has won two in a row by a nine-goal margin.
Murphy, who coached Georgia Southern to its first Sun Belt championship last season, said Atlanta United’s next match at Seattle Sounders FC Friday night (10 p.m., FS1) is a “must-see” clash of styles. He got an up-close look at them in a scrimmage over the recent international break.
“The style that they play is very possession-based,” Murphy said. “I was really, really impressed with how they move the…