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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

2016: The Year So Far - by Taylor Peyton

We are now four months into the calendar year and it's been a roller coaster for the Atlanta Silverbacks, even though the season hasn't started yet. Let's go through the timeline of events so far in 2016.

January 11 - NASL Suspends operations
The NASL tried, but a buyer could not be found and we got the announcement we had been dreading but knew deep down was coming

February 23 - AJC officially breaks news that The Silverbacks will return under new ownership
As the fan base was starting to dry it's eyes, we then started to cry tears of joy upon finding out The Silverbacks would have a men's team in the NPSL and a women's team in the WPSL, under the ownership of John Latham, John Hardin, United Futbol Academy, Phoday Dolleh, Iggy Moleka, and the notorious Boris Jerkunica.

The announcement wasn't completely free of controversy as a new crest was announced that looked very similar to the logo of the Atlanta Silverbacks Indoor Facility in Suwanee. Some fans said it was shameless advertising by Boris and the new design wasn't very easy on the eye.

March 8 - NPSL Schedule released
We found out we would be playing, then we found out who we would be playing, and when we'd be playing them.

It begins May 14th against the Georgia Revolution of Conyers, and ends July 2nd against FC Carolina Discoveries. With second fixtures against the Revs and Discoveries, as well as home and away fixtures against Myrtle Beach Mutiny, Tobacco Road FC, and Carolina Railhawks U-23 the schedule is something shorter than Silverbacks fans had grown accustomed to but the new opponents, the pace of the schedule, and the possibility of playing less familiar teams if the Silverbacks find themselves in the playoffs should make for an exciting season

March 31st - Abdul Bangura named Captain
Okay, so we don't have a full roster just yet. But we do know we will be captained by a familiar face in Abdul Bangura. The Sierra Leone international has been with the Silverbacks since 2014. Between his experience, his ability, and the familiarity the fans have with him, Bangura seems to be a good fit as the new face of the club.

April 6th - Silverbacks drawn against Reading United in the US Open Cup, will play Chattanooga FC if they win
Geographically speaking, it doesn't make sense. However, it was announced the Silverbacks opponent in the first round of the Lamar hunt US Open Cup would be Reading United of Pennsylvania from the PDL. Reading United are an affiliate of MLS club Philadelphia Union, and have made it past the first round of the competition every year since 2012. If reputation is something to go by this will be far from an easy game

Should the game end in a Silverbacks victory, their second round fixture would be Chattanooga away. Despite not being in the same NPSL division this season, past Silverbacks triumphs in the USOC and trash talk between the two fan bases have turned this into a bit of a rivalry. Should the Silverbacks beat Reading, it will be an interesting night in Chattanooga when these two clubs play each other.

Still to come:
While we've not been short on news so far, there are still things left to be revealed. There is the matter of the kits, but with how well received last year's kits were I wouldn't expect them to change much. We know who our captain will be but that's about the only name that has been confirmed. As of now the Silverbacks have zero confirmed preseason opponents

On April 30th there will be a Kick Off party at Atlanta Silverbacks Park, with tickets to the event costing $10. Perhaps our remaining questions will be answered prior to, or at this event.

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