Don’t call it a fan club! That’s what you’ll likely hear from a member of one of Atlanta United’s four designated supporter groups – Terminus Legion, Footie Mob, Resurgence, and The Faction – upon using the wrong nomenclature. So, supporter groups it is. And it’s pretty easy to see that members are much more than just casual fans.
During home games, supporter’s group members are found outside Mercedes-Benz Stadium tailgating and getting fired up for the match. Then, they parade into the stadium carrying the giant golden spike, a callback to Atlanta’s railroad beginnings and a symbol of unity and strength.
The golden spike sits in front of the boisterous supporter section just behind the home goal, and it’s from this section that the chants, cheers, and singing begins and echoes around The Benz.
Current Terminus Legion President Lisa Wilder didn’t really care for the sport while growing up. After marrying her Portuguese husband, a die-hard fan, and watching World Cup matches with him, she began to see the appeal. Still, when he bought them Atlanta United season tickets as a Valentine’s Day present, she rolled her eyes and went along. After her first match, she was hooked.
“We joined all the supporter groups in the beginning, but we fell in with Terminus Legion because we liked the community service aspect of it,” Wilder said
She also loved the ritual before each home game and admits she’s addicted to the surge of being ‘part of something bigger than yourself.” She’s only missed a handful of home games since joining in 2017.
Both on and off-season, Terminus Legions members can be found giving back to the community through volunteering and working with charities. Wilder said that beyond the rowdy support at each game, the group actually “does more in the community than we do in the stands.”
Some of the organizations Terminus Legion supports include Soccer in the Streets, Mostly Mutts, Chattahoochee River Keeper, and the Clean Sheet project to assist victims of domestic violence. Members also donated funds to the fire department and helped with pandemic relief efforts.
Terminus Legion member Amy Jurden said she’s been a life-long sports fan, but never realized how much fun it could be. “The vibe of the group – it’s just a big family, you know. I immediately felt welcomed,” she said.
Jurden said one of her favorite memories as a member occurred in 2018 when Terminus Legion partnered with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for Kick Childhood Cancer Month. “All the supporter’s groups came together, and Terminus Legion did a gigantic children’s tailgate event. So, you had all these kids out there that had never gotten to go to a sporting event like this, that were fighting things you’d never want someone their age to deal with, and it was just pure euphoria.”
Aaron Nobles joined Terminus Legion in its first year, 2014, said it was the friendships he’s made that will stick with him forever. He said a recent member’s wedding was cause for celebration.
“Terminus Legion comes with friendships,” Nobles said. “Michael recently got married and we got to rekindle friendship and relationships with people we had not seen in several years due to COVID. It was so good to see all of the people who had been with us since 2014. It honestly was something I will never forget.”
Ashley “A-Ro” Robinson, a board member at-large for Footie Mob, can often be found DJ’ing during pre-game tailgating. She’s been a member since Atlanta United played its first game at Bobby Dodd Stadium, and even travelled to some away games, including Costa Rica.
Robinson said she arrives at the tailgate area four or five hours before a match even starts to set up her decks and said she thrives on the “controlled chaos” of game day.
She said one of her favorite memories was during the MLS cup final, when Footie Mob held one of its biggest tailgates ever. “It was cold and raining, but everybody was happy and dancing,” she recalled. “We like to make a big production out of the tailgate and bring the noise from the lot to get everyone ready.”
Robinson said the community aspect of Footie Mob was another draw for her, including participation in voter registration drives, food drives, and community clean-ups. During the pandemic when members were watching matches on television, Robinson and other DJs streamed game day tunes over Zoom and held virtual tailgate parties on Zoom.
Footie Mob member and photographer Jeremy Martinez said his follow members are now his best friends. “Footie Mobbers are the people I talk to every day, go on vacation with, and hang out with on and off-season,” he said.
Martinez said some of is best experiences with Footie Mob include helping to keep United Avenue in Grant Park clean, volunteering at at the COVID-19 mass vaccination site at The Benz, and volunteering and raising money for Soccer in the Streets.
Marla Tichenor said she became involved with all the supporter groups in 2018, but finally “planted her roots” with Footie Mob.
“No matter who you are, you will at least fit into one of the groups, if not more than one,” Tichenor said. “I first became a member of AUFC’s supporter groups in 2018, after I had a full year to fall in love with the experience, yet it was already love at first sight.”
Meet the Groups
Launched in 2014 with the MLS Atlanta announcement, Terminus Legion exists to champion and support Atlanta soccer, and the communities in which it is played. Positivity and inclusivity, on and off the pitch, are hallmarks of the oldest of the supporter’s groups. Find out more at terminuslegion.com.
Footie Mob has members from across the Intown area. Their goal is to create a unique fan experience by blending supporter’s group traditions with Southern sports culture. Join the members for match watching parties, tailgates, and in the stands. Find out more at footiemob.com.
Resurgence focuses primarily on creating a rowdy and passionate supporter’s section experience. Resurgence members pride themselves on “earning their scarf” by standing and chanting the full 90 minutes of each match, choreographed displays (called tifos), and creating original songs and hand-made flags. Find out more at resurgenceatl.com.
Made up of parents, coaches, players, and passionate supporters, The Faction strives for unique game day experiences, with an emphasis on food and friendship. The group’s mission also encompasses using sport to help develop youth character and the language of soccer to promote tolerance, inclusivity, and the value of collaboration in achieving success. Find our more at thefactionatl.com.