While the Atlanta United FC name was a point of division for some fans when it was first announced, that was largely cast aside as the team began to be built and entered its first season of play. The rest is history: attendance records broken, a playoff appearance in its inaugural season, and a message sent to the soccer and sporting community that Atlanta wasn’t the bad sports town it was made out to be.
Now the organization shifts its focus on launching another team: an expansion USL side in the spring. We know that it will play at Coolray Field in Gwinnett County, but we don’t know yet what it will be called. Branding the team properly will go a long way in drumming up support from the community (it sounds like they’ll be primarily targeting fans outside the perimeter and along the I-85 corridor).
The safe option
I’m of the opinion that the team may just go the safe route and name it Atlanta United 2 or something along those lines. On the other side of the coin, though - and thanks, Rob, for bringing this up - the fact that they haven’t announced the name yet may hint at something more creative and out of the box. It’s a fair and logical point, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see them go straight down the middle. (I imagine some people would be #madonline if this happens, though.) Maybe they call it Gwinnett County FC, but if they’re planning to move to Marietta eventually, it wouldn’t make sense.
The out-of-the box option
I like some of the more creative USL names: OKC Energy FC (a callback to Oklahoma’s oil-rich economy), Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, Phoenix Rising FC (get it?), even Sporting Kansas City-owned Swope Park Rangers (named after the park the team’s soccer complex is located in. Has a nice British ring to it). My preference is seeing the USL team going in that direction. The team’s “Unite & Conquer” slogan may be able to yield some good options - Georgia Conquerers FC or something along those lines? - for branding the club. I’d say Atlanta Chiefs, but that might be out of the question since the NASL owns that name. However, with the NASL facing various challenges, maybe Uncle Arthur and co. float some money to buy the rights to it?
Whatever the USL club is named, I’m confident it will receive the same support that the first team has received. Hopefully fans will make the drive to Gwinnett and get a up-close look at not just some of the youngsters controlled by Atlanta United, but older professionals looking to make their own impact on the field.
What suggestions do you have for the name, serious or otherwise? Let us know in the comments below.