The best experiences in life usually fall seamlessly into our lap.
For 5-Stripes devout fan Vera Zeigler, that was finding one of Atlanta United’s supporters’ groups, Resurgence, and making tifos for her soccer club. When Zeigler heard Atlanta was getting a soccer club, she was all in.
“I was so ready,” Zeigler said with enthusiasm. “I was a Founding Member, and I wanted to do so much more. There had to be a way to do more than just getting season tickets. I started looking into supporters’ groups. I saw the Resurgence ask if people wanted to help paint tifos. I thought that sounds like me. I went to some warehouse in Atlanta. I joined them, and I was hooked from that first moment at a random warehouse in Atlanta.”
Zeigler has been a part of making tifos from the beginning. After that day in the warehouse, she already started planning the next design.
There’s a process to create the tifos between the supporters who ideate them. There’s every type of group from WhatsApps, text messages, Instagram, and Facebook groups to share the upcoming ideas. One special tifo that came to life was King Peach. Someone in their tifo group chat texted the emojis “peach>apple”. Then, Zeigler came in with her special touch and added the crown to make King Peach.
“I knew we weren’t the Big Apple, but we are Kings, so I added King Peach,” Zeigler said with a smile. “It is amazing how just that simple idea of crowning the city in that aspect really resonated with people.”
Some of her other favorites include the tribute to Atlanta for the first tifo in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, The Gold Standard, El Tata, and the MLS Cup tifo.
In 2018, Zeigler and many supporters traveled to New York to see Atlanta United get crowned as 2018 Eastern Conference Champions. On the way home, her creativity already started churning.
“I remember sketching the train and the tifo for the MLS Final on the plane home from New York,” Zeigler said. “We had to order supplies very quickly to make it happen.”
After a few days of creating the train and putting it together with her fellow 17s, she’ll never forget the moment of watching it rise.
“Being on stage and going up and seeing it going up made me speechless,” Zeigler said in awe. “We were able to get the horn and smoke to time at the same time, so the horn and smoke would come out of the train. It was perfect. I just get chills talking about it.”
Besides creating many tifos for the club, Zeigler’s love for the team goes beyond the pitch. She’s found a new group of friends and family.
“We are a family that unifies us,” Zeigler proclaimed. “That is the true beauty why I love that club so much. It’s a united effort with people. I’ve become friends with people that I know now from all different cultures and backgrounds all because of Atlanta United. I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
Zeigler embraces her culture as a Black Atlanta native and shares that part of her life every day, especially with her friends, family and other 17s.
“With soccer, it’s very much a Black sport, some of the best players that ever played the game are Black,” Zeigler said. “It’s important to me to grow that representation because Atlanta is Black. We have one of the largest African American populations in the country, Home of the Civil Rights Movement, historically Black colleges. It’s a home of passion and creativity for the Black community. We take a lot of responsibility representing Atlanta in the best light and making sure when we do things it’s very much Atlanta.”
Whenever she starts designing a tifo, she makes sure no matter the design, a hint of Atlanta is always represented and made with love through her fellow family members– the 17s. Through the team, Zeigler and the rest of the 17s will forever be close to the team and Atlanta.
“The play is one thing on the pitch and we love and support but what it’s done for the city, it’s a legacy that I hope grows,” Zeigler said with love. “Atlanta United really united the city, which has never really been done before.”