Terminus Legion, Atlanta United FC
Jorge Alonso, director of brand development
According to Jorge, Terminus Legion grew out of the “ATL Wants MLS” campaign, a fan-driven initiative in 2011 to demonstrate to MLS that soccer fans in Atlanta were ready for a team. More than 3000 signed the initial petition, and Terminus Legion launched as a group in support of Atlanta soccer in February 2014. That was just before MLS made the then-rumored announcement about an Atlanta team official.
Photo by Lara Michelle
How they grew
The drive to bring an MLS team to Atlanta gave them a database of potential fans from which to draw, but they’ve largely relied on social media to increase their presence and grow their awareness. Alonso notes they make sure they’re at parades and other city events, wearing Terminus Legion-branded scarves and shirts, and talking to those who want to know more about the group at those public events.
Their relationship with the front office
Alonso is proud of the relationship his group’s been able to forge there. Atlanta United has two employees who specifically work with Terminus Legion and the team’s other emerging supporters’ groups. They are able to email back-and-forth on matters in addition to holding regular meetings. And as Alonso proudly notes, “There are other people in the front office, including in the sales department, who are Terminus Legion members.”
Three pieces of advice for those who want to start a supporters’ group
- “Get your relationship with the front office going quickly. You’ll need contacts with the front office when you want to make things happen for your supporters’ group.”
- “Develop solid social media. It’s simply how news is communicated today, and it’s democratized media. We started early, and it’s helped us reach beyond our members.” While Terminus Legion officially has around 400 paid members, their Facebook page has 4000 members — some of whom they believe are future members waiting for the team to play its first match.
- “Find a charity to work with. It doesn’t have to be soccer-related, though with Soccer in the Streets, we were able to find one. There’s a legitimacy that gives you — it lets people know that you’re about something else.”
One thing you shouldn’t do
“Don’t alienate anyone. We’ve run across people who think we’re not [doing this] ‘correctly.’ But there’s not one correct way to do [a supporters’ group]. You don’t have to conform to any unwritten rules. It’s not a private club. There’s no secret handshake.”