The Atlanta Silverbacks will open their 2007 USL First Division season this Saturday night (4.21.07) against the Montreal Impact at 7:55 pm. The home opener, an expected sell out, will mark the beginning of the Silverbacks’ second season at RE/MAX Greater Atlanta Stadium. The Silverbacks barely missed a spot in the playoffs last September and the team is already hungry for post-season play.
“For the last two seasons we have been just a few points short of making the playoffs. The few points add up and it shows how important it is to start winning from the beginning - the beginning is Saturday against Montreal. We’ve been working hard and we’re ready to start the 2007 season with a win,” said team captain Rodrigo Rios.
Every team wants to come out and win their home opener, but the Silverbacks owe Montreal some special payback. The Impact broke the Silverbacks’ eight game home-undefeated streak last summer with a 2-1 win over the ‘Backs on July 28.
The Silverbacks will once again offer premier promotional items at every home game during the 2007 season. This Saturday, the first 1,000 fans at the home opener will receive a 2007 Silverbacks calendar poster.
Atlanta’s fans will see some new faces in the Silverbacks’ red and black on Saturday night. The team has been strengthening the roster throughout the off-season and announced three new signings today. Rafique Hassim, Ryan McIntosh, and Daryl Sattler have agreed to terms with Atlanta.
Hassim, 5-9, 165, joins the Silverbacks from South African side, All Nations FC. The 30-year-old South African native will be bringing his game to the United States for the first time. Hassim began playing for All Nations FC in 2003 and scored 42 goals in his 69 games with the team – he is the highest goal scorer in the club’s history. Prior to All Nations FC, Hassim played for Moroka Swallows from 2001 to 2003. He began his professional career in 1996 with the Wits University FC reserve team – he scored 101 goals in 137 games during his five year stint with the club.
McIntosh, 6-1, 185, began his professional career in 2006 with the DC United reserve team. The 24-year-old goalkeeper won a PDL National Championship in 2004 with the Central Florida Kraze. He played with the Kraze in 2004 and 2005; he captained the team in 2005 and was a member of the 2004 All-South Region Team. A product of the University of Central Florida, McIntosh earned many honors while playing for the Golden Knights from 2001 to 2004. He was named the Atlantic Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Year (2003, 2004), as well as being named to the Atlantic Sun Conference First Team (2003, 2004) and the Atlantic Sun Conference All-Tournament Team (2002, 2003). He captained the team from 2002 to 2005 and started in every match during his four year career.
Sattler, 6-2, 190, spent the 2006 season with the Nashville Metros in the USL Premier Development League. The 26-year-old goalkeeper made 89 saves during the 2006 season and ranked second in the league for saves. Sattler began playing for the Metros in 2003 and served as the starting goalkeeper during his four seasons with the team. He spent his college career at Western Kentucky University where he started in the net all four years and currently holds the WKU school record for career shutouts with 19.5. He served as team captain in 2002 and 2003 when he was also named team MVP. Sattler was named to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Tournament Second Team (2003), the MVC Honorable Mention team (2002), and the MVC All-Freshman Team (2000).
The Atlanta Silverbacks announced the release of Andy Metcalf and John Queeley, along with Joe Afful’s decision to retire. Afful played in 69 games for the Silverbacks from 2004 to 2006.
Season tickets to see all the Silverbacks’ home games are still available through the Atlanta Silverbacks Ticket Department. Single game tickets can be purchased online at www.atlantasilverbacks.com or by calling 1-866-GO-BACKS.
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