In the world of sports, the moment any team stops working hard, another team will surpass them. When a team becomes complacent, a team filled with more ambition and desire will beat them to the top. There’s always going to be new boys on the block- a title so fitting for the Atlanta Rovers FC.
“New boys on the block” fits Rovers FC perfectly because of how recently the club was established. They started around a year or two ago but are already competing in one of the most significant amateur leagues in Atlanta: the Atlanta District Amateur Soccer League (ADASL).
Being part of one of the biggest amateur leagues can be intimidating for a young team that is still navigating the soccer world and that the ADASL is composed of very experienced and highly-skilled established teams. However, after managing to win six games, the Rovers clinched a spot in the 2020 ADASL Summa Cup semi-finals. The club scored a total of 16 goals while only conceding two goals! A remarkable feat made even more impressive because it is the club’s first season.
Speaking on their success, Rovers defender Ronnie Green talked about the main contributors to this achievement. He mentioned strong leadership and a clear vision from the players are the key features to their success. “I think all of us saw how serious and dedicated the management, the management staff was, and the vision that they saw for the club. And then the strong leadership that they provided as far as not just management, but also like actual, the coaching staff, I think we felt like wow, we’re actually joining something that people care about.”
A key component the Rovers management was looking for in their players is dedication. It was clear from the first day that the management would be stern, dedicated, and determined to only acquire loyal, committed, and hardworking players. This has become so crucial to the team’s success and has created an excellent relationship between the players and management.
Andrew Marsh, one of the members of the Rovers management, shared their process of finding players and said, “There was a clear message from the very beginning that if you didn’t buy-in, it just wasn’t going to be a good fit. So everybody that joined the team had joined the team and got selected as there was a built-in understanding of what we expected. And if you didn’t live up to that there were plenty of people waiting in the wings to replace you.”
The Rovers are determined to achieve big things. In fact, they have already achieved so many things even as the “new boys on the block.” Their story is a reflection of what a team should be. The relationship between management and players and within the players is exceptional. The Rovers look like a cohesive unit sharing a common goal and willing to set egos aside and make sacrifices to succeed.
The Rovers want to step up further and create big things on both the management and player level. Andrew Marsh discussed the club’s goals in both the short and long-term. For immediate goals, it comes as no surprise that Marsh wanted the Rovers to take the club to the next level. “In the immediate, it’s definitely a promotion. It’s definitely when the next game we play, not get too ahead of ourselves as far as thinking that we’re something special because we won six games.” Growing the club’s platform is also one of the long-term goals they wish to achieve.
On the players’ side, many of the athletes just want to continue working hard and not get ahead of themselves – to continue to push themselves and reach greater heights as a squad. “Everybody wants to start, everybody wants to be the person that the coach trusts to be on the field when the whistle blows. And so I think everybody really does care a lot about being on that starting sheet and being there and being the person that the coaching management can rely on,” Green said.
Long-term goals are perhaps more apparent – the players want to win. In the words of center back Ronnie Green, “I think everybody wants to win something, you know, I, I would love to go on to the semi-final and go to a final and win a trophy, win something like it’s, you know, it’s not an opportunity that you get every day. And so I think, you know, it’s in everyone’s hopes to be able to, it’s just a culmination of a lot of effort and to see that effort rewarded and a physical emblem of the trophy.”
Despite being the new kids on the block, the Rovers are still fearless, driven, united, and more than capable of being one of the top amateur teams in Atlanta. The players have all been working hard and pushing themselves in every game. It’s unfortunate that because of the second wave of COVID-19, their semi-final match-up with Club ATLetic has been put on hold. When they do get to play the match, It will be interesting to see what an inexperienced yet driven team can do versus a strong, experienced, and established side.
Be sure to check out the Rovers and keep a close watch on what they will achieve.