UPDATE: SEE 11/11/10 post
On November 11th, 2008 the Atlanta Silverbacks men’s professional team announced they would sit out the 2009 season citing the economy and the potential of a Major League Soccer team coming to town. There were also several fundamental issue’s the Silverbacks ownership had with how their league, United Soccer League, was structured and operated.
When word got out that a new league was being created from a group of USL teams it rejuvenated hope that Atlanta’s men’s team would return. To the disappointment of many, once the new North American Soccer League was officially recognized by USSF we learned that the Silverbacks would forgo the 2010 season as well but return in 2011. The NASL.com site currently displays a Silverbacks logo with “2011″ written over the top. The About the NASL statement also includes the following:
In 2011, these teams will be joined by teams in Atlanta and certain other cities to be named later.
According to a source with knowledge of the Silverbacks plans they will not return until 2012 at the earliest. The conditions cited in 2008 still exist and will likely continue for several more years. Until Atlanta is awarded a MLS team or MLS declares they will no longer expand there will always be discussions of Atlanta to MLS. The current economy is still struggling and doesn’t show signs that would point to significant changes in the next couple of years. However, those conditions exist in many of the other NASL & USL markets and it hasn’t prevented them from putting a team on a field. Many of the current clubs have teams but don’t own their stadium. Atlanta actually owns their stadium, but just won’t field a team.
Which do you think is more likely, MLS to Atlanta OR the Silverbacks men returning? If either, when?