ESPN’s latest Fan Stories by ESPN short film “Footie Mob” – premiering this Saturday during Atlanta United’s match against FC Dallas.
The film features Reggie McKie, Lead Capo for one of Atlanta United FC’s supporter groups. His story highlights growing Atlanta affinity for soccer and the increased interest in the sport across the U.S. in general, proving that fandom can take on a life of its own. This fan story is directed by Men in Blazers’ Roger Bennett.
A telecommunications worker by day, Reggie transforms into the song leader for Footie Mob, a group forged by fans like him who, in many cases, knew nothing about soccer three years ago. Facing a stand of thousands, Reggie leads them all in chant, song and choreographed movement inside a packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium from kick off to final whistle. Among his many influences, he has worked to connect the club to Atlanta’s historic Grady High School so that members of its marching band can attend games, learn the chants and re-work them into brass melodies.
The Rise of Soccer in The South – and in the U.S.
That The South is considered hardcore SEC country and that MLS generally only prospered on the coasts makes this story all the more unique. It is in no small part thanks to Reggie and groups like Footie Mob that the club’s average crowd size of 55,000 is the 14th largest in the world – a remarkable achievement, particularly here in the U.S., topping elite European clubs like Manchester City, Paris St. Germain and Chelsea.
The success of Atlanta United is a reflection of the city’s influx of young, diverse, cosmopolitan newcomers seeking something local to root for. A powerful driver of the club’s fan culture is Atlanta’s community who have fused their pride for the city, the hip-hop culture that surrounds them and their passion for the team. In fact, the name Footie Mob comes from a play on Atlanta hip-hop group, Goodie Mob.
“Footie Mob” speaks to the power of sports when fans embrace and define a team and their city. In the case of Atlanta United, it is vibrant, energetic and with plenty of personality. The film also further exemplifies ESPN’s commitment to high quality and original storytelling.
About Fan Stories by ESPN
ESPN recent launched Fan Stories by ESPN, a series of short films rolling out in the coming months that shine a light on ordinary fans with extraordinary stories. The films are meant to celebrate the fans that ESPN serves – their passion, commitment, and diversity.
About Roger Bennett (Director, “Footie Mob”)
Writer, broadcaster and filmmaker Roger Bennett was born in Liverpool and moved to the United States after university. He began at ESPN and moved with “Men in Blazers” – alongside his podcast and TV show co-host Michael Davies – to NBC Sports. Roger has become the go-to interviewer for the biggest names in soccer, making films with the likes of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.