Late Monday night, while most of the country was watching the College Football Playoff Championship Game, the NASL released a statement saying that the Atlanta Silverbacks would cease operations. The club won't play in 2016 or for the foreseeable future. The club was operated by the league in 2015 and, after extensive searching, the league could not find suitable owners to take it over. The new MLS franchise, Atlanta United, set to begin play in 2017, will be the only pro-soccer team in town. Many in the soccer landscape felt that, even with new ownership, that Atlanta would not survive once United began play; it looks like it won't get that chance to compete with it. The presence of Atlanta United probably discouraged many of the potential investors for the Silverbacks.
Aside from the founding MLS teams, and a few select lower division teams, Atlanta was one of the longest tenured soccer clubs in the United States. Founded in 1995 as the "Atlanta Ruckus", the club renamed to the Atlanta Silverbacks after the 1998 season. It joined the modern NASL in 2011, won the 2013 spring title and hosted the championship game in 2013, losing to the New York Cosmos.
While this is unfortunate for the league, the NASL is continuing to expand with solid ownership, including 3 clubs set to join in 2016.
This is also sad for the loyal fans of the Silverbacks. It's never easy to see the team you love disappear. The league has stated it still believes in the Atlanta market, so hopefully sometime soon, an investor comes along to be able to bring the team back.
This leaves the NASL with 11 teams in the spring and 12 in the fall of 2016 when PRFC joins.
All things NASL
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