Each Tuesday, Nasl.com will be doing a feature on one of the many supporters groups in the NASL.
Today the NASL features the Atlanta Ultras, the largest supporters group of the Atlanta Silverbacks.
Founded in late 2011, the Atlanta Ultras are the largest of the recognized Silverbacks supporters groups. The Ultras provide a unique atmosphere to Atlanta Silverbacks Park from Section 101, supporting the club, the city, and their colors.
“We’re a group that is extremely passionate about supporting the club as well as the city,” said Atlanta Ultras president Steve Gurlen in an interview with the Silverbacks. “We very much view this as our home and our stadium and we let people know that.”
The Ultras take pride in the city of Atlanta, and Gurlen believes that “the diversity and intense passion of our members [sets them] apart.” In spite of the club’s poor on-field performances the past two seasons, the Ultras “believe in unconditional support for this club and city.”
New to the Ultras this season is a formalized membership process. “For the first time, we have instituted an official AU membership,” said Gurlen. “We’re excited to see everyone’s interest in it and certainly hope that it continues.”
The group expects to have between 80 and 100 members for the 2013 season. “We have seen tremendous growth this offseason in only our second year, [though] numbers aren't as important as the passion of the individuals in the AU.”
In addition to the Atlanta Ultras, the Silverbacks have three other supporters groups: Eastside 309, the family and youth oriented Band of ‘Backs, and the oldest group—Westside 109—founded in the late 90s. Jeff Hornyak, a founding member of Westside 109 recalls, “One couple, Kurt and Kim Braunsroth started playing drums at games and a few more of us began to join them. We have been playing drums and cowbells the entire time since.”
The growth of the supporters groups promoted a unique challenge from the Silverbacks front office, who gave the supporters a goal of 225 season tickets for the 2013 NASL season. If the Ultras meet that goal, they will be rewarded with their own set of bleachers behind the south goal at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
Previously covered on Nasl.com:
Flight 19 and The Ultras (Fort Lauderdale Strikers): http://nasl.com/index.php?id=3&newsid=3722
Ralph’s Mob (Tampa Bay Rowdies): http://nasl.com/index.php?id=3&newsid=3740
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