April 1 marks an exciting watershed moment in the history of Atlanta United as the club announced the unveiling of its first-ever official mascot.
“We’re proud of what we’ve built at Atlanta United, but one area I think we really missed a trick in is a mascot,” club president Darren Eales said. “We knew that we’ve got to compete in the global game and that means finding a mascot. And we knew that this was the right time to tackle the project that’s crucial to our club’s brand.”
The club conducted a thorough ideation process to develop the concept, as the video reveals. Eales led more than a dozen brainstorming sessions with a variety of staff that included a wide range of personnel from business operations to seasonal assistants. The team hired an esteemed third-party consulting firm, the Portland Five, to vet the name and ensure the delivery.
The project comes in Atlanta United’s sixth season in MLS as the club looks to join the high-ranking, notable mascots of other MLS clubs. Nashville SC has Tempo the Coyote that pays homage to a wandering, homeless canine. Orlando City SC has a bulked-up lion named Kingston.
Even Charlotte FC, the expansion club in its inaugural MLS season, has a mascot: Minty, a soccer ball with a face on it, an innovative idea that Eales particularly drew inspiration from.
“We wanted to have something that would embody Atlanta United as a club, just like Charlotte FC managed to do with their mascot,” Eales said. “Something the fans instantly took a shine to, something that really embodies their brand.”
Eales’s team approached the process willing to dedicate whatever resources they found necessary to create a thoroughly researched and sophisticated design. As Eales learned during his time in the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur FC, to make a name for your club in the global soccer market, the club had to make this kind of project a high priority.
“You can’t cut costs to try and come up with something, so we were going to spend the money to make sure this was a success,” Eales said. “This was something the fans can be proud of, the club could be proud of, something that could rival the soccer ball of Charlotte FC – and I think we’ve hit gold.”
April 1, 2022 will go down in club history as the day Atlanta United introduced the new mascot: Trainy McTrainface. And not only did the club find gold – he's also got a nice caboose.
Happy April Fools' Day!