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Friday, April 15, 2016

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes Part 1 - by Taylor Peyton

Time may change our Silverbacks, but we can't trace time. So let's turn and face the strange. This year we have new owners, new coaches, new leagues. Here is some quick information to help you keep pace with the Silverback’s changes.

The Owners

Boris Jerkunica -  Yes, it is indeed THAT Boris Jerkunica. The Chairman of Atlanta Silverbacks LLC who originally made his fortune as a technology entrepreneur. Boris built Atlanta Silverbacks park, and owned the Silverbacks from 2000 up until 2015 when the NASL took control. Now that the NASL is out of the picture, Boris is back in. He still owns Atlanta Silverbacks Park but it seems that he has less power than before. His years with the Silverbacks led him to be named one of the top 100 leaders in Atlanta Hospitality. However, his time with the Silverbacks has not been free of controversy. The biggest one coming in 2012 when Boris sold the rights to host a US Open Cup game to their opponent, Seattle Sounders. This practice has since been banned.

John Latham - Believe it or not, John Latham was a part of the Silverbacks before Boris was! A man that made his fortune as a lawyer, Latham and another lawyer named Bobby Glustrom bought “A-League Atlanta” in 1998. Shortly after, the team was renamed Atlanta Silverbacks.

John Hardin - John, along with his brother Henry became part owners in 2013. Now John is here to bring the high energy that Jerkunica once praised him for back to the table.

Iggy Moleka - A Silverbacks legend already, Moleka played in Atlanta from 1999 until 2002 and is the team's all time leading scorer. Since retiring, he was an assistant coach with the Silverbacks from 2002-2005, and has been a huge part of player development in Atlanta Youth Soccer.

Phoday Dolleh -  The owner of A+ Sports management group, Phoday is an agent and manager who has served as a mentor to players such as former Silverbacks Kwadwo Poku. He has been a FIFA licensed agent since 2008.

The Leagues

NPSL - Founded in 2003 as the “Men’s Premier Soccer League” the now “National Premier Soccer” has expanded from 6 teams to 85 teams in a 13 year span. The teams are put into regional conferences to keep travel costs low. The Silverbacks with play in the South Atlantic Conference with opponents in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The majority of the players that make up the NPSL are college students and former professionals who hold amateur status. However, clubs are allowed to sign professional players and take them in on loan.

WPSL - The W-League is no more. So a new league was needed to field a Silverbacks Women's team. The Women's Premier Soccer League was founded in a 1998. Like the NPSL, the clubs are divided into regional conferences to keep travel costs low. The Silverbacks women will play in the Southeast conference with opponents from Alabama, Florida, Florida, and Tennessee.

ADASL - Founded in 1967 by Atlanta’s first professional team, the Chiefs, the Atlanta District Amateur Soccer League is the new home for Atlanta SIlverbacks reserves. The ADASL currently has three open divisions and one masters division. Promotion and relegation is a huge part of the ADASL. The top team in each division is automatically promoted, and based on how many teams are in the division above, teams near the top of the division will be promoted. The same principal applies to relegation to the division below. Their season begins in October and is typically over in early May so it will not conflict with the NSPL schedule.

As it stands so far, the changes to the Silverbacks organization look to be for the better. We at Planet of the Backs, are excited for the changes at our club. Between the NPSL, NWSL, and the ADASL, you won't have a problem finding a match to see.

Make sure to follow the club account (@ATLSilverbacks), our account (@SilverbacksBlog) and all of our Silverbacks’ Supporters Partners on Twitter for more Atlanta Silverbacks FC news.

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