Silverbacks are back under new ownership

The Silverbacks are back.

The franchise has a new ownership group, which will lead the men’s team in the NPSL, and the women’s team in the WPSL. The teams will start in May and will play at Silverbacks Park.

The Silverbacks as an NASL franchise folded in January.

The new ownership group will include Boris Jerkunica, who was chairman of the NASL franchise, owns the name and Silverbacks Park, John Latham and John Hardin, who were also part of the NASL ownership group, United Futbol Academy, and Phoday Dolleh, who now owns A+ Sports Management Group.

Iggy Moleka, UFA co-founder and director of soccer, said they wanted to get involved in ownership as a way to show players a path from the amateur to the professional level. He said there are more than 6,000 players in UFA.

Dolleh said he was heartbroken when the NASL team ceased operations. He wanted to become part of the ownership group in order to help it to continue it being a professional organization. He said his experience in soccer, which includes being a Silverbacks fan, will help the organization. Dolleh said he wants to help find the next Kwadwo Poku, who moved from the Silverbacks to NYCFC in MLS.

“We want to bridge that gap between youth soccer and pro,” Dolleh said. “We want to make the fanbase feel like owners.”

The team’s coaches have been hired, but Jerkunia said he wasn’t ready to announce them.

Jerkunica said he believes that the metro Atlanta soccer community can support two sustainable models: the MLS and Atlanta United, and the NPSL, in which costs can more easily be controlled.

“We want to continue to provide a good product so people can enjoy a nice Saturday night soccer game,” Jerkunica said. “It will be more like going to a college game, a different experience on the field but it can still be a lot of fun.”

The NPSL features four regions: Northeast, South, Midwest and West. Within each region are divisions. The Silverbacks fielded an NPSL team the previous three years as a reserves squad for the NASL team. It played in the South Atlantic Conference of the South region. The league has playoffs at the national level. The teams either feature college and amateur players, or semi-pro players. The rosters can’t be mixed. The Silverbacks will start with a roster of amateur and college players.

Like the NPSL, the WPSL fields dozens of teams. Its teams rosters are also college and amateur players.