Atlanta Silverbacks 2013 Team Profile
While 2011 marked the beginning of the NASL version of the Atlanta Silverbacks, it was not the creation of a brand new franchise. The team actually began play in the A-League in 1998 and through the re-branding of the league became a member of the USL. In 2008 the team decided to withdraw from the league. Although it was widely speculated that the franchise was in trouble, it was actually because of a difference in the direction of the league. Holding out for higher league standards in areas such as the league business model and team ownership rule, the Silverbacks would soon make their return to professional soccer, this time with the new NASL
- Name: Atlanta Silverbacks Stadium
- Built: 2006
- Capacity: 5,000
- Playing Surface: Grass
- Ownership Group: Boris Jerkunica, Traffic USA
- General Manager: Andy Smith
Head Coach: Bryan Haynes
Haynes was hand picked and appointed by Technical Director Eric Wynalda. The Trinidad and Tobago International was assistant manager for the Dallas Burn/FC Dallas from 2001-2006 ironically under the Carolina RailHawks Colin Clarke.
Atlanta Ultras (largest), Eastside 309, Westside 109 and Band of ‘Backs
Atlanta has been the underachievers regardless of era or league. The Silverbacks finished 7th of 8 teams in NASL for the 2012 season. Eric Wynalda was appointed as Technical Director after his famous Cal FC USOC run. Wynalda wasted no time culling the roster, appointing Haynes and signing a few Cal FC players, most notably Danny Barrera. The Silverbacks held a re-branding exercise in 2012, asking the fans to pick a team name and offering the retro NASL Atlanta Chiefs as an option. The hype was ultimately for naught as the hardcore fans banded together and kept the Silverbacks as the team name. The Silverbacks did change their logo for 2013 opting for a text only logo without an image of a gorilla.
Veteran Martyn Lancaster and company were the joint worst defensive unit for much of last season, but finished strong with a string of shut outs in the final stretch. The Silverbacks roster will remain very much the same for the 2013 Opening Season. We can’t help thinking that Wynalda may have a surprise last minute acquisition up his sleeve. Even if he doesn’t, he trusts Haynes to get the best out of the squad he has and that’s something that Wynalda excels at. Perhaps retaining a core of 15 players from last seasons team will pay dividends this year.
This year the Silverbacks need to become a solid unit. They often played above their league position but were always just short of the mark. The coaching turmoil and wholesale turnover by the incoming Wynalda could be one reason for the inconsistency. There is always the feeling that this is a snakebitten club and Haynes biggest challenge this season will be to instill a winning mentality and belief into the team.