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A New Atlanta, United by Soccer

As soon as the $1.five billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened, the gamers had spacious amenities and the rest they wanted on website online. However the staff appreciated the theory of a grand arrival, so the walk-in has been preserved — with a little bit sleight of hand. Ahead of just about each and every house fit, Atlanta United gamers devour a pregame meal within the stadium after which grow to be matching grey fits with white shirts and crimson ties. They then board a bus, which drives a brief loop across the block earlier than pulling up close to the entrance gate. There, masses of lovers wait alongside an extended crimson carpet, cheering and high-fiving the gamers as they stroll again into the development they simply left.

As a part of the ritual, every participant stops about midway down the crimson carpet to signal a big copy of a gold-painted railroad spike, an allusion to Atlanta’s historical past as a railroad terminus. When the gamers are completed, lovers mob the spike to signal it themselves.

Then, in a while earlier than kickoff, participants decided on from the staff’s supporters’ teams — there are a number of, every with its personal ethos — raise the spike on their shoulders into the stadium and all the way down to the primary row of the end-zone seats. It’s fixed onto a platform, and a fan with a ridicule sledgehammer, or a star visitor, kilos it thrice because the roaring lovers yell, “A-T-L.”

At each and every recreation the rituals are repeated: any other bus journey, any other spike, any other full-throated ovation. Frequently, any other win follows.

Thomas Thornton, who belongs to Terminus Legion, some of the supporters’ teams, was once some of the lovers who carried the golden spike to the sector earlier than a recreation in April. Raised close to Atlanta, he has observed each and every different homeland staff play. However not anything, he mentioned, fits the communality and effort of an Atlanta United recreation.

“There’s no higher 72,000 other folks to spend a day with than psychotic Atlanta lovers,” he mentioned, his voice hoarse smartly earlier than kickoff. “It’s really our town, our membership. And it is going to by no means forestall.”

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