7 Admittedly Unexpected Joys Of Going To An MLS Game

7 Admittedly Unexpected Joys Of Going To An MLS Game

All I'm saying is the A-T-L slow clap is something you just HAVE to experience in person.
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While baseball and football have always dominated the sports scene in the United States, Major League Soccer (MLS) keeps growing and there's no telling if it'll ever stop.

A year ago I wrote about how ATL United was going to take over MLS, and oh my, have we started a soccer revolution in our city. The fans have made the experience absolutely unforgettable and if you have any doubts about soccer, please go to a freaking MLS game. I can guarantee it will be one of the best sporting events you've ever attended in your entire life. If I still haven't convinced you, here are some reasons why you should just buy your ticket already.

1. You will feel like you are part of a big family you never even knew existed.

When you're packed in a stadium full of 46,318 fans (that was ATL United's average attendance per game this inaugural season), you'll find yourself becoming best friends with the people in your section. Not to mention if you're sitting in the supporter section, it gets pretty wild from what I've seen (and heard).

2. The chants will send chills running down your spine.

Coming from a foreign family, soccer has always been a sport that I've kept up with, but I was nowhere prepared for what I was about to experience at my first ATL United game. MLS supporters are some of the most dedicated and energetic fans out there. It's a totally different energy than any league in the entire world and a lot of that has to do with the rise in popularity of soccer in the United States. All I'm saying is the A-T-L slow clap (you know which one I'm talking about) is something you just have to experience in person.

3. When you step in that stadium, you are literally making history.

Plenty of MLS teams have set impressive records in the past, but Atlanta has already broken some of them and set the bar higher than ever. The most recent one being breaking the all-time MLS record for tickets sold to a standalone match (69,256 tickets for their match against Orlando FC on September 16, 2017). The last time this record was set was back in 1996 for LA Galaxy's first game ever.

4. You will be impressed by the tifo game.

In case you don't know what a tifo is, it's a long-standing soccer tradition that features works of art created by fans to commemorate the match that day. You'll see these flying over the supporter section and the best part is each one is incredibly unique. I love this one above from ATL United's match against the New York Red Bulls this past May.

5. The moment your team scores a goal is one you will never forget.

You know when you go to a football game and pretend like you know what's going on even though you can't tell whether or not we scored a touchdown? Soccer is nothing like that. You will know when we have scored and you'll be even more excited because you actually understand the sport. I'm telling you, even if you aren't a "soccer person," it's easy to follow.

SEE ALSO: Why Soccer Is More Than Just A Sport To Bosnians

6. The excitement will keep you on your feet the whole game.

Forget sitting, you will probably forget you're even standing because you're having a blast.

7. You will realize that your city is freaking amazing.

I've heard a lot of people say, "Oh, you don't know what it's like, you have to go overseas and watch a Premier League game." Actually, we have the experience right here in our own backyard. Embrace it and show some love for your city!

Cover Image Credit: WABE Atlanta

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To The Coach Who Took Away My Confidence

You had me playing in fear.
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"The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure."

As a coach, you have a wide variety of players. You have your slow players, your fast players. You have the ones that are good at defense. You have the ones that are good at offense. You have the ones who would choose to drive and dish and you have the ones that would rather shoot the three. You have the people who set up the plays and you have the people who finish them. You are in charge of getting these types of players to work together and get the job done.

Sure, a coach can put together a pretty set of plays. A coach can scream their head off in a game and try and get their players motivated. A coach can make you run for punishment, or they can make you run to get more in shape. The most important role of a coach, however, is to make the players on their team better. To hopefully help them to reach their fullest potential. Players do make mistakes, but it is from those mistakes that you learn and grow.

To the coach the destroyed my confidence,

You wanted to win, and there was nothing wrong with that. I saw it in your eyes if I made a mistake, you were not too happy, which is normal for a coach. Turnovers happen. Players miss shots. Sometimes the girl you are defending gets past you. Sometimes your serve is not in bounds. Sometimes someone beats you in a race. Sometimes things happen. Players make mistakes. It is when you have players scared to move that more mistakes happen.

I came on to your team very confident in the way that I played the game. Confident, but not cocky. I knew my role on the team and I knew that there were things that I could improve on, but overall, I was an asset that could've been made into an extremely great player.

You paid attention to the weaknesses that I had as a player, and you let me know about them every time I stepped onto the court. You wanted to turn me into a player I was not. I am fast, so let me fly. You didn't want that. You wanted me to be slow. I knew my role wasn't to drain threes. My role on the team was to get steals. My role was to draw the defense and pass. You got mad when I drove instead of shot. You wanted me to walk instead of run. You wanted me to become a player that I simply wasn't. You took away my strengths and got mad at me when I wasn't always successful with my weaknesses.

You did a lot more than just take away my strengths and force me to focus on my weaknesses. You took away my love for the game. You took away the freedom of just playing and being confident. I went from being a player that would take risks. I went from being a player that was not afraid to fail. Suddenly, I turned into a player that questioned every single move that I made. I questioned everything that I did. Every practice and game was a battle between my heart and my head. My heart would tell me to go to for it. My heart before every game would tell me to just not listen and be the player that I used to be. Something in my head stopped me every time. I started wondering, "What if I mess up?" and that's when my confidence completely disappeared.

Because of you, I was afraid to fail.

You took away my freedom of playing a game that I once loved. You took away the relaxation of going out and playing hard. Instead, I played in fear. You took away me looking forward to go to my games. I was now scared of messing up. I was sad because I knew that I was not playing to my fullest potential. I felt as if I was going backward and instead of trying to help me, you seemed to just drag me down. I'd walk up to shoot, thinking in my head, "What happens if I miss?" I would have an open lane and know that you'd yell at me if I took it, so I just wouldn't do it.

SEE ALSO: The Coach That Killed My Passion

The fight to get my confidence back was a tough one. It was something I wish I never would've had to do. Instead of becoming the best player that I could've been, I now had to fight to become the player that I used to be. You took away my freedom of playing a game that I loved. You took away my good memories in a basketball uniform, which is something I can never get back. You can be the greatest athlete in the world, but without confidence, you won't go very far.

Cover Image Credit: Christina Silies

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Due To The Achilles Injury That Kevin Durant Has Sustained, This Will Affect His Free Agency And Game

What is next for one of the greatest players in NBA history?

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Let me start this article off by saying that I am not a Golden State Warriors fan. I am not a Kevin Durant fan, and I have not been since he left the OKC Thunder in 2016. I have an always have been an OKC fan and yes I hated Kevin Durant with such a passion. That is until Monday, June 10th. That is the day when I saw the toll being an NBA player takes on the humans that play the game. Each decision they make is judged so harshly that even if they get injured, the fault has to fall on someone, even if no one is to blame.

Game 5 showed us that Kevin Durant is very much human and clearly understands that. I have no respect for the Raptors fans who started cheering when he fell to the floor clutching his Achilles. As a fan base, I understand the stakes of the game but that doesn't make it ok to cheer when a player might be out for the rest of the series. That is a reflection I know the Raptors or the NBA don't want.

The NBA is a business and the reaction of these fans makes it seem like it's all about the completion and nothing about the game that has changed and affected so many people's lives. It also makes it seem like the fans do not show empathy for anything but the win and that the players must do everything to get the win.

As for Kevin Durant's future, it is up in doubt because an Achilles Tear has been a devastating injury to players in the past. The Achilles is the biggest tendon in the body and tearing such an integral component will clearly rob KD of the some of the length and athleticism he plays with because the surgery and the rehab are so long and difficult to complete. We may never see the person who completely took over the finals and carried his team to victory or score 30-50 a night with an insanely high-efficiency rate. All of that goes up in doubt because of this one horrible and career threatening injury.

As for his free agency, I think that this injury will help KD understand the fan base he has around him and his teammates who need him just as much as he needs them. The Raptors have stolen the finals from KD and the Warriors and this might compel him to stay another season and compete for a 3rd championship instead of going somewhere such as New York.

As for New York, they might as well start preparing for a losing season as they do not have the 1st overall pick to get Zion Williamson and Kyrie Irving has stated that he would much rather play for the Nets than the Knicks. That has to hurt a franchise who was looking to build a big three with the edition of KD and attempt to compete for a championship. All in all, I want to wish KD the best of luck in recovering and becoming a top 3 player in the NBA again.

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