Soccer supporters embrace Five-Stripe fever

Since its inaugural season in 2017, many Georgia sports fans have embraced Atlanta’s newest expansion team Atlanta United.

Atlanta United set a record in Major League Soccer (MLS) for total home attendance as 901,033 filled the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta across 17 games. For individuals who couldn’t attend games in person, going to a local pub or bar has become a tradition.
In Avondale Estates, The Stratford Pub is home to The Faction, an Atlanta United supporters’ group. The group is one of four officially recognized Atlanta United supporters’ groups.
James Maggard, co-owner of Stratford Pub, is one of the founding members of The Faction. Maggard said he enjoys the atmosphere of his restaurant on game days.

“The best way I can describe it is we’re a family-friendly bar and grill. We’re a place where the whole family can come and have a good time,” Maggard said.

The Stratford Pub hosted an official Atlanta United viewing party for the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Red Bulls on Nov. 29, featuring 92.9 The Game.

“We’ve been embraced by the community and it’s a very festive and upbeat atmosphere for the games,” Maggard said. “This is fulfilling. Growing up in Atlanta in the early ’90s, we love to support our team. This reminds me of my childhood and to be able to do that for this community and bring that back has been very rewarding. It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling.”
In Decatur, Grindhouse Killer Burgers owner Alex Brounstein is a season ticket holder for Atlanta United. Brounstein said the atmosphere on game day for Atlanta United is like no other.

“The atmosphere upstairs in Decatur during [Atlanta] United games is bonkers,” Brounstein said.  “Footie Mob, who is one of four supporters’ groups, hosts official watch parties for all away matches. They have chants, bring drums and horns and just have a great time cheering on the team. We provide some drink specials as well.”  

After Atlanta United defeated the New York Red Bulls in a two-game series 3-1, large crowds are expected in and around Atlanta as the MLS finals will be held at the Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Decatur High School graduate Steven Broyles said supporter groups are doing a great job of getting fans excited for the Five Stripes.

“The buzz around the city is crazy. We had a great season last year, but it was cut short. To watch this deep playoff run is awesome,” said Broyles during a watch party at The Stratford Pub. “If we get through this leg, the championship is coming to Atlanta. There’s no comparable feeling.”

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