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Silverbacks in USL could actually be a thing, per AJC

Jerkunica is considering multiple leagues for the Atlanta Silverbacks, a sign the team could continue despite recently suspending operations indefinitely.

Terminus Legion

Good news for all Atlanta Silverbacks fans: Silverbacks playing in the United Soccer League could actually be a thing.

According to Doug Roberson of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Boris Jerkunica, owner of the Silverbacks, and his partners are considering entering the former NASL team into USL or continuing the reserve team that currently plays in the National Premier Soccer League, dropping the "Reserves" label from that squad.

One of the ongoing issues for the Silverbacks was the growing operations cost while a member of NASL, a figure that would be much lower within USL or NPSL and could allow for new partnerships. Jerkunica told the AJC that NASL operations cost can run into the millions while NPSL costs typically don’t exceed the low $200,000s. He said USL costs are also much more economical than NASL.

This news should come as a sigh of relief for Silverbacks fans who thought the team would forever cease to exist. Additionally, USL membership for the organization would open the door for Atlanta United FC to affiliate with the Silverbacks next year. However, Jerkunica stated that a USL model would only work if an MLS team partnered and paid the Silverbacks budget and coaches. Considering Atlanta United just partnered with the Charleston Battery, it may take some creative maneuvering next year for the Silverbacks to affiliate with Atlanta United, if that’s something Jerkunica would even be willing to consider.

An affiliation with the Silverbacks would potentially allow Atlanta United to sign young prospects to Home-Grown contracts and the opportunity for those player to ripen with the Metro Atlanta organization. The Silverbacks would also still be eligible for US Open Cup competition.

The former NASL team still have plenty of long-existing supporters groups who seemingly wouldn’t mind which league the team played in, so long as there was a team. Westside 109, Atlanta Ultras, Terminus Legion, and Eastside 309 Guerrillas all have well established roots with the Atlanta Silverbacks.

Jerkunica also told the AJC that there are ongoing discussions on starting a women’s team in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.