'Atlanta United FC' chosen as name for MLS expansion team
Atlanta's Major League Soccer expansion franchise will be called "Atlanta United FC."
The club announced the name shortly after SI.com reported the news on Thursday night.
"We were always going to listen to our fans," club president Darren Eales told MLSsoccer.com. "It came back loud and clear that this was a name they identified with and that they felt fit Atlanta."
Atlanta United, which is set to begin play in MLS in 2017, had planned to announce the name on July 7, and the club is still planning a party for that night to reveal the club logo.
Eales said the club provided a survey asking fans to rate words and their association with the team, which provided a better response than four rounds of polls to pick a specific name.
"That list included all the names from the Terminus Legion poll, from supporters that we met, from focus groups and from social media," Eales said. "And our top four words were 'Atlanta,' 'Football Club,' 'ATL' and 'United.' So it was quite clear the theme that was coming back from our fans."
The team will be second to use the "United" in MLS after D.C. United, one of the league's 10 original franchises that began play in 1996.
Atlanta might not be the only "United" entering the league in 2017, either. MLS confirmed in March that Minnesota United are set to join the league as well, though stadium issues could push its debut back a year.
Atlanta will play in a new stadium, set to open in 2017, that it will share with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. Both teams are owned by Arthur Blank, the co-founder of Home Depot.
There are 20 "Uniteds" in the top four divisions of American soccer, with world-famous Manchester United joined by 11 others in England, according to SI.