As Atlanta United gears up to take on Charlotte FC for the first time, the club’s Supporters Groups will push pause on the usual pre-match fanfare to bring attention to an issue much bigger than a game.
On Sunday, Footie Mob, Terminus Legion, Resurgence, The Faction, All Stripes and Charlotte FC supporter group Mint City will unite with local organizations fighting against human trafficking in Atlanta.
With the 2026 World Cup fast approaching, Atlanta United’s Supporters Groups will play a major role in ensuring the city is ready to receive an event of such scale.
During the Independent Supporters Council Conference in January, they were given access to the Atlanta Human Rights review submitted to FIFA. In it, they made note that human trafficking was among the main human rights concerns for the city, and immediately started looking for ways to get involved.
Terri Harrington, who teaches English at Atlanta International School and serves as Club Liaison for Footie Mob, didn’t have to look far for guidance.
“My first thought was to talk to [Atlanta International School] Against Human Trafficking, because I know they already had more resources that I could find if I just did my own research,” Harrington said.
Atlanta International School Against Human Trafficking (AISAHT), is a student-led organization that has been working to eradicate human trafficking in Atlanta and around the world for over a decade.
Sunday’s Honorary Captain, Maanya Madan, has been a leading voice in AIS Against Human Trafficking since 2020. As junior leader of the group, she has played a crucial role in educating parents and peers on human trafficking prevention, lobbying local lawmakers and organizing the school’s annual #MyFreedomDay activations.
The group’s faculty leader, Veronica McDaniel, worked with Maanya and Harrington to ensure that House of Cherith, YouthSpark, Street Grace, and Frontline Response were represented at Sunday’s activation at 52 Mangum Street SW.
“We reached out to the local groups because they know what’s been going on here for the last 15 years, and they’re the ones that have made so much progress in making Atlanta a model for how to curb human trafficking,” McDaniel said. “The more our local non-profits are raising awareness like at the game…little things like that I think can go a really long way and should be a part of every game in my opinion. The more everyone is seeing signs of human trafficking and know who to call and what to do, the more we can stop it from happening.”
Maanya’s family has held season tickets to Atlanta United matches since 2018, rarely missing a match. When McDaniel broke the news that she was Sunday's Honorary Captain, Maanya’s immediate reaction was to call her dad.
“He was in the middle of a call, but he stopped it and was yelling around the room and telling everyone about it,” she said with a huge smile on her face.
“I didn’t realize that she was such a big supporter,” Harrington, who had Maanya as a student last year, said. “So that makes it even more special. I feel like, if anything, it reinforces the ethos of the club a little bit. That you’ve got students like that, that are so invested in the team and so invested in the community, it just seems like a very symbiotic relationship.”
Even in the midst of such an exciting moment, Maanya is focused on the work at hand. That was best exemplified by her response when asked what it means to be named Honorary Captain.
“I’m extremely honored to able to be there on Sunday and be the Honorary Captain for the game.” she said. “And hopefully, a lot of people will be able to learn a little more about human trafficking and grow that awareness.”
Join Maanya, the anti-human trafficking organizations and our Supporters Groups before the match at 52 Mangum Street to learn more about their work and how you can get involved on #MyFreedomDay and beyond.