Brian Cooper enjoys his job more than you.
How do I know?
I mean, look.
Brian began working in event security in 2010, but he’d never experienced the energy Atlanta United and its sellout crowds brought to his workplace. Tedious turned into exhilarating and the Five Stripes won themselves a fan.
“I love coming to work now,” Brian said as we walked through the hallway of his $1.6 billion office. “Soccer is my favorite sport now. I don’t like NFL, I don’t like baseball, I love soccer now. I’m not playing.”
Brian worked security while Atlanta United occupied Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium, but didn’t take up residency in the supporters section until the second game in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a 7-0 shellacking of New England in one of the worst routs in MLS history. Somewhere in between Josef Martinez’s opener 73 seconds in and Tito Villalba’s 90th minute goal capping the bombardment, Brian started to develop a connection with the rowdiest section of the stadium. By the time Martinez scored for the second time against Orlando City a game later, the fans had (literally) embraced Brian.
“I knew somebody was going to be seeing me celebrating,” he said. “I was so excited I said, ‘Man, I don’t care.’ I’m having so much fun. I know I’m still at work. I’m still doing my job. But this is so much fun.”
The energy that created an Atlanta United fan in Brian is being returned in kind. Atlanta United fans are becoming Brian fans for the same reason he fell in love with the team. He’s become a permanent fixture at the front of the supporters section, and, in between his game time duties, Brian celebrates, high fives and sings his way through the work day.
At Bobby Dodd, Brian attempted to learn the chants coming from the supporters section. He was too far away though. He couldn’t make out the words. Now, Brian leads the chants himself.
He says his favorite to lead is “We are ‘The A,’” but there’s one chant he really wants to lead.
“When he gets on the step and hits the drum and everyone says “A!” I love hearing the echo in this building. I told them I wanted to lead it one day, but, you know, I probably can’t beat on the drum you know what I’m saying…”
Even if he doesn’t get to beat on the drum, the supporters have made sure Brian feels like another member of the section. He keeps a Terminus Legion scarf in his pocket on game days, wears red and black beads, and even took home a pair of free jerseys (courtesy of the supporter’s groups) from last Sunday’s match with Montreal.
“I was saying before that I wanted a United jersey. I was telling my friends that and they were saying ‘Go get one!” but they were too expensive. Look what God did. He blessed me with a jersey and they’ve got my name on the back of it and everything,” he said.
“I love it. I really appreciate them. For real.”
The feeling seems mutual, Brian.