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If it seems like the Guardians club is the soccer pitch version of the United Nations, that’s by design. The club was started in 2014 by Jason Brooks, a 33-year-old player, coach, and die-hard fan who was bothered that—even in heterogeneous Atlanta—soccer tended to break down along racial or socioeconomic lines.
When a reporter in 2003 told Atlanta Beat coach Tom Stone that young girls in the metro area were crying because the team was shutting down, his was a caustic response. “If more of those girls’ parents had brought them to our games,” he said, “they wouldn’t be crying today.”
With funding from Atlanta United FC (by way of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation), nonprofit Soccer in the Streets unveiled the first pitch built at an urban transit station. Sanjay Patel, the creator of Station Soccer, hopes to build nine more and create a league.
Soccer, Fugees Academy founder Luma Mufleh says, “defines the shape of our academy. Being involved in sports, playing on a team—that crashes all barriers, including language. In some ways, it is magical. Whether they’re good or not is irrelevant."
I could easily say that, with sports, my parents’ model of loving detachment was good enough for me, so it’s good enough for my kid. But I can’t deny there’s a system in place that measures a parent’s love for her child by how often that parent shows up. The kids didn’t create this system. We did.
Whether sporty and classic or bold and bright, stripes dominate menswear this spring. It’s fitting then that Atlanta United FC kicks off its first season March 5 in a signature striped kit. Here, four team members show off the iconic pattern.
Atlanta is a sports town, just not a unified one. I know passionate fans of the Braves and Bulldogs, but also Lakers lovers, Phillies fanatics, Alabama die-hards, and Chelsea hooligans. Atlantans come from all over and bring their exotic sporting allegiances with them.
A group of Atlanta investors is in talks to bring professional soccer to the metro area. And they’re not talking about the Atlanta United FC.