Atlanta In Market For A New Coach

Eric Wynalda (center with Silverbacks owners) will manage the team in 2014 from Technical Director role without a head coach

The Atlanta Silverbacks will begin 2014 with local owners, part old and part new.

Traffic Sports is out and a new ownership group consisting of longtime chairman Boris Jerkunica, longtime vice chairman John Latham and Henry and John Hardin. The Hardin brothers are local businessmen who run SCI Companies, which specializes in human resource outsourcing.

Traffic Sports, a major player in the development of the North American Soccer League, had owned and operated the Siverbacks since 2011 when the team joined the NASL. Traf[show_disconnected][show_to accesslevel=’Subscriber’]fic Sports continues to hold majority ownership in both the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Carolina RailHawks.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Jerkunica and Latham will own 50 percent of the club, while the Hardins will own the other 50%. Traffic Sports had owned a 65% stake in the Silverbacks before the recent sale.

“The introduction of a new local ownership group is tremendously exciting for both the Atlanta Siverbacks organization and the local soccer community as a whole,” said Jerkunica. “Finding local ownership has been a long-term goal of ours. I couldn’t feel more honored to be a part of such a passionate and committed group of investors, which we’ll be actively looking to add to in the future.”

Jerkunica is well known in the Atlanta soccer community. He is the sole proprietor of Atlanta Silverbacks Park, home of the Silverbacks, as well as the women’s W-League team and the men’s reserve team. He played collegiate soccer at Emory University, and is a member of the Emory University Sports Hall of Fame.

Latham is a successful trial lawyer and has been involved in professional soccer in the Atlanta area for over 20 years.

Henry Hardin is the CEO & President of the Lawrenceville-based SCI Companies, and John Hardin also has an executive role with the company.

The Silverbacks are coming off a runnerup finish in the NASL this past season, losing 1-0 to the New York Cosmos in the end-of-season Soccer Bowl. The Silverbacks qualified to host the championshiip game by winning the spring half of the NASL regular season.

Attendance has been strong and the new owners have plans to increase their sales staff. The Silverbacks front office will operate out of the SCI Companies building in Lawrenceville.

In 2013 the Silverbacks experienced a 39% growth in attendance over 2012, and 101% since its inaugural NASL season in 2011.

“We congratulate Boris Jerkunica, John Latham and Henry and John Hardin on their partnership and the exciting prospect of taking the club forward on the strength of committed local ownership,” said NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson.

“The Silverbacks have long had an incredible impact on the Atlanta soccer scene.”

Following the loss to the Cosmos, the Silverbacks decided not to renew the contract of head coach Brian Haynes, who had been named 2013 NASL Coach of the Year.

The search is on for a new head coach.

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