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Atlanta soccer team resumes fall season
by Marcel Pourtout
mpourtout@neighbornewspapers.com
August 07, 2013 11:32 AM | 1389 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal / 
Atlanta Silverbacks head Coach Brian Haynes, right, coaches goalkeepers Joe Nasco, left, and Eric Ati during practice drills.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal / Atlanta Silverbacks head Coach Brian Haynes, right, coaches goalkeepers Joe Nasco, left, and Eric Ati during practice drills.
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Since the Atlanta Silverbacks secured its first championship since becoming a professional organization in 1998 with a win over Minnesota United FC on June 29, the organization has stayed active despite the North American Soccer League summer break before resuming its season on Aug. 3. The Silverbacks have made numerous public appearances with its championship trophy, including meeting Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed on July 22, and played in an international friendly at-home game against Club Xelaju MC out of Guatemala, with Atlanta emerging victorious, 3-2.

“The support we’ve received has been amazing,” said defender Mike Randolph. “Even before we won the championship, the community has treated us well,” said midfielder Milton Blanco. “The support has always been there and we’re happy to bring a championship to the city.”

The Silverbacks are now back in training for the league’s fall season which will begin in earnest when they host the Carolina RailHawks at Silverbacks Park on Aug. 10.

“The training hasn’t been bad,” said Silverbacks’ head coach Brian Haynes. “This isn’t the preseason. The guys are in mid-season form and kept themselves in good shape.”

The Silverbacks welcome the return of several players, including captain Richie Menjivar who represented El Salvador in the CONCACAF Gold Cup last month. “Having our captains, Martyn Lancaster and Menjivar, back is going to be helpful for us because they provide leadership,” said Haynes.

Atlanta was able to put its training to the test against Xelaju in an impressive win. Danny Barrera had two goals in the contest and Alex Caceres scored the game-winner in the 72nd minute. “The game against Xelaju gave us a chance to see where we’re at,” said Randolph. “We were rusty but did some good things as well.”

During the summer break, the league also announced the Silverbacks will host the Soccer Bowl on Nov. 9, pitting Atlanta against the winner of the fall season.

The entire organization knows the team is now a target for the rest of the league.

“Winning is a frame of mind and a mentality that we’ve developed,” said Randolph. “We look forward to the challenge of everybody chasing us.”

“We always felt that we could win a championship,” said Blanco. “Now we have to be mentally tougher because teams are going to be coming after us even more.”
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