Atlanta United games are unlike any other sporting event in Atlanta. The games are thrilling and even more is happening in the stands. Here’s a few of the traditions and activity that contributes to the fun.
The Chants: These are distinct from other major sporting events. The unique cadence and complexity of the chants, once mastered, make you feel like are part of a special tribe. There are many including, "We Are The A." The supporter section also sings "We Ready" right up until the game kicks off. There's also the goosebumps-inducing Atlanta United "Viking Clap," inspired by the Iceland National Team's Viking clap. Usually around the 42 and 80 minute mark, everyone raises their hands overhead. You will hear a drumbeat, followed by a pause, then clap and yell "A", drumbeat "T,"drumbeat, "L". It's repeated faster and faster echoing in the stadium. Other popular chants include the Spanish language "Vamos, vamos, vamos ATL" (Let's go, go, go ATL). There are also player-specific chants including those for Josef Martinez and Brad Guzan.
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Supporter Section: The supporter section is a general admission area where members of various groups sing, dance and loudly chant throughout the game. They are the epicenter of the energy for the crowd. Expect lots of flags, yelling, wild enthusiasm and beer showers. Not for the faint of heart.
Supporter Groups: There are four main fan groups for Atlanta United.
Footie Mob draws inspiration from Atlanta culture, especially hip hop. The name is inspired by Goodie Mob and the group blends music, food and a love for soccer.
Resurgence prides itself in being rowdy, raucous and anti-authority. They smash a glitter-filled pinata in the form of the opponent before home games. They likely have the most members of any supporter group.
The Faction is a family-oriented supporter group known for raising money at their tailgates with raffles, donations and other events for local charities. They've raised over $33,000 this past season, giving almost half of the money raised to the Fugees Academy, a school for refugee children in Clarkston.
Terminus has several chapters in Georgia and beyond. They pride themselves on positive, inclusive and respectful conduct at games.
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The Golden Spike: The Golden Spike is an homage to Atlanta's railroad roots. Before home matches, a replica 8-foot-long railroad spike is signed by players and fans. Then four supporters (generally one from each major supporter's group) carry it to the front of the supporter's section where someone (usually a local celebrity like Zac Brown, Waka Flocka, Big Boi, or a local sports star) hammers it in three strokes to the chant of 'A-T-L!' After the match, a real (smaller) golden spike is awarded to a player and he hammers it into a display.
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Tifo: A term for fan choreography involving large-scale patterns in the stands, pictures or banners. Some spectacular tifos seen at Mercedes-Benz Stadium include Atlanta Forever, RIP Bad Sports Town, and one for coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino after he announced he was retiring.
- Krista Miller contributed to this article.