Monday, July 9, 2018

The MOST FUN Fan Experience: Atlanta United

A few weeks ago I mentioned Mr. Cute and I went on a date to see the Atlanta United play. Those of you not familiar, Atlanta United is our city's professional soccer team. I had so much fun that I thought the experience deserved to be documented with it's own post. If I wasn't a fan before, I am now. And I'm about to get you excited to be one too! 

First, we are a soccer loving family. I grew up playing soccer, and now The Cutes play too. But you don't need to have one iota of soccer experience to enjoy the Atlanta United games. Mr. Cute was clueless about professional soccer, but a few months ago he brought Cute to a match because he knows how much he loves it. Mr. Cute came home and declared it was one of the most fun sporting events he's ever been too. 

Now he's hooked. 

When he asked if I wanted to go to a game I immediately said, "Yes!". The Atlanta United's popularity has quickly grown, and I had heard the games were so much fun. I couldn't wait to see one for myself! 

We arrived and parked in "The Gulch" parking lot. This is where all the tailgating goes down. We've experienced it for Falcons games, for the SEC Championship, and the National Championship. Not to mention we've been to some fabulous tailgates all over the country. All those experiences have nothing on Atlanta United tailgating. Soccer fans apparently really know how to bring the party. 

I'm talking about full on drum lines (multiples of them), DJs, large kitchen set ups with out of this world food (Why haven't I ever thought fajitas as a tailgate food?? Because it's like the best tailgate food ever!), chanting, dancing, louder chanting, coordinated marches (with chanting) all the way into the stadium...

I bow to you Atlanta United tailgate kings. 

Now I was so entertained by the tailgating experience, I nearly forgot about the actual match was the main event. Almost. 

We arrived in Mercedes Benz after inviting ourselves to march with one of the fun drumline/chanting/dancing/flag waving groups walking in. We split off at the security check in, and headed towards our seats and in search of some food. 

All that chanting and dancing requires frequent refueling and rehydrating. 

Now, we understand our tickets caused us to be a bit spoiled in our experience, but if you get a chance to have this opportunity too - take it! 

Our tickets came with access to The SunTrust Club. The club features unlimited food and drinks, and the most amazing dessert bar you will ever see. I'm pretty sure I embarrassed Mr. Cute taking photos of it, but a dessert bar like this deserves documenting. 

I did my journalistic part, and taste tested a little bit of everything. It was delicious. All of it. And for the record Funnel Cake Fries should be a thing. Like everywhere. 

Also, thank you to the kind SunTrust employee who saw that I was rather parched from all that chanting on my way in, and saw to bringing me not one, but four servings of Sauvignon Blanc. Your kindness was much appreciated. 

When you have access to The SunTrust Club you can view the game from field level if you like, but we chose to watch the game from our seats. 

We sat down about ten minutes before the game, and I was shocked at how calm everything was. I mean everyone was so hyped up outside, but it was relatively calm right before the game. Little did I know...

The players were announced. The anthems were sung. And then it was the last time we sat down quietly through the entire 90+ minutes of the match. 

The fans had arrived and I would love to see their post game iWatch activity stats because they do. not. stop. The entire game they do this...

The energy I saw outside has nothing on the inside. And it's infectious. All 75,000 plus people in attendance get into it. It's loud, and it's so much fun. 

Let's not forget about the game itself. 

The games are fun to watch. The Atlanta United is such a good team, and soccer is so fast paced that it keeps your attention. There are never any boring moments, and the talent of some of our players is exciting. Several are the top players in the league right now and one is the top scorer. 

So getting to interact with those players is a treat. Again, I realize our SunTrust experience isn't open to everyone, but if you have access you also get to be up close to the players at certain times. They walk right through The SunTrust Club to get to their locker room. So anytime players come on and off the field you get to see them up close to cheer them on, hi-five them, etc. 

We went down at half time to be a part of this. The United was losing at this point 1-0 so the players didn't look too cheery, but it was still fun to take part in! When Cute went earlier in the season he was able to shake hands and hi-five almost every player on their way in. I think it just depends on timing and mood. 

After half time the crowd doubled down their efforts, and the cheering/dancing/flag waving never faltered.

We scored and the level of noise and excitement was insane. We ended up tied 1-1 in the final of the match, but you would never have known it. Every single fan stayed in their seat until the game was over and they cheered on their hometown team. 

It was one of the most fun professional sports experiences I've ever been to, and I highly recommend you checking out a game yourself. I'm hooked, I've already got my Atlanta United jersey on order (Literally we were one of five people in the entire stands not wearing one. The other four people were for the other team), and already can't wait to go back. Call me a fan for life! I say it loud, and I say it proud...

A. T. L!!!

Have you been to an Atlanta United match? I'm not crazy, am I? Isn't it the most fun?!

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