Those attending Saturday’s match today against FC Dallas will be witness to a short film directed by Roger Bennett of Men in Blazers featuring one of Atlanta United’s supporter groups, Footie Mob.
Several themes packed into the two-minute short include:
Reggie McKie’s Story
Reggie McKie of Footie Mob is a capo for Atlanta United’s supporters section. A telecommunications worker by day, Reggie transforms into the song leader for Footie Mob, a group forged by fans like him who, in many cases, knew nothing about soccer three years ago. Facing a stand of thousands, Reggie leads them all in chant, song and choreographed movement inside a packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium from kick off to final whistle. Among his many influences, he has worked to connect the club to Atlanta’s historic Grady High School so that members of its marching band can attend games, learn the chants and re-work them into brass melodies.
The Rise of Soccer in The South – and in the U.S.
That The South is considered hardcore SEC country and that MLS generally only prospered on the coasts makes this story all the more unique. It is in no small part to Reggie and groups like Footie Mob that the club’s average crowd size of 55,000 is the 14th largest in the world – a remarkable achievement, particularly here in the U.S., topping elite European clubs like Manchester City, Paris St. Germain and Chelsea.
Footie Mob’s fandom is rooted in a reality that Atlanta has long felt underestimated and undervalued – as both a city and a sports town. The success of Atlanta United is a reflection of the city’s influx of young, diverse, cosmopolitan newcomers seeking something local to root for.
African-American Cultural Influences
A powerful driver of the club’s fan culture is Atlanta’s African-American community who have fused their pride for the city, the hip-hop culture that surrounds them and their passion for the team. In fact, the name Footie Mob comes from a play on Atlanta hip-hop group, Goodie Mob.
“Footie Mob” – directed by Men in Blazers’ Roger Bennett – speaks to the power of sports when fans embrace and define a team and their city. In the case of Atlanta United, it is vibrant, energetic and with plenty of personality.