Footie Mob, one of Atlanta United's early supporters' groups, started, as a surprising number of things do, with two friends making a joke online. It was 2014, and two fans of the just-announced Atlanta United FC, Curtis Jenkins and Stefan Kallweit were joking around on Facebook.
But, by the following year, their initial joke, of naming a supporters’ group for a pun on seminal Atlanta hip-hop group Goodie Mob, got serious. Now, Footie Mob counts itself among the current four official Atlanta United FC groups, built on love for soccer and tailgating, of course, but also Atlanta’s diverse and vibrant music scene.
Footie Mob's tailgates, in the communal parking lot near Bobby Dodd Stadium where all the supporters’ groups gather from pre-game festivities, are more elaborate than typical tailgates. A recent edition featured a private chef preparing kebabs, falafel, and other Mediterranean fare, and they’ve also gone the Southern-styled barbecue route several times in this first part of the season.
A scene from a recent tailgate. Photo via Footiemob.club
“Tailgates are such a Southern sporting institution,” Jenkins said. “Your space becomes your living room and you invite people in. You joke with neighbors over whose burger is better. A new friend can be a parking spot over and a beer away.”
But meanwhile, Kallweit DJs the tailgates, and takes the responsibility seriously, pre-planning some sets and mixing in some selections on the fly. But, as he explains it, “The last 45 minutes or so builds up to our chant loops, and crests strictly with Atlanta hip-hop artists.”
Snacks at a Footie Mob tailgate. Photo via Footiemob.club
In Bobby Dodd, they concentrate in Section 120, in the corner adjacent to the main supporters’ area, and in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, they’ll be similarly located in Sections 104 and 105. They’ve been doing Atlanta music-inspired chants in their section from Day One. But they’ve also begun to get into the mix of capos initially dominated by fellow supporters' groups Terminus Legion and Resurgence, and are slowly getting their chants into the rotation at large.
All of these are authored by group members, and based on musical contributions from Atlanta artists (with a few thrown in from nearby Athens, which spawned R.E.M. and the B-52s). “There was a strong feeling within the group that all the chants should be as Atlanta as possible,” Jenkins explains. “Simple rhythms that everybody knows.”
The first one to take flight is arguably the easiest to adopt. “We Ready,” borrowing from the Archie Eversole song, is already familiar to Atlanta sports fans via the Falcons, though getting a soccer chant treatment allowing Atlanta United fans to make it their own.
They’ve also created a “Power Football” chant to the classic Outkast song “B.O.B,” another chant drawing from Childish Gambino’s “3005,” and a take on YoungbloodZ’s “Damn” that might be the most soccer-ready chant they’ve created thus far.
They also exhibit a sense of humor that extends to their fan gear. Their latest scarf, available to fans in early June, proudly proclaims “Bless Your Heart,” which is a Southern phrase that sounds nice on its face but is actually dismissive, akin to “You’re an idiot” or worse.
They’ve also adopted an East Atlanta bar, the Midway Pub, for away match watch parties.
“It's been interesting and nothing I could have dreamed of, to be honest,” Jenkins says of Footie Mob’s evolution across this debut season. “Everyone has been engaged and positive. Everyone looks to jump in and help. It's evolved because we constantly ask our members what they'd like to see.”
Their fans will also definitely turn out in numbers for Atlanta's MLS Summer Beat concert, featuring Mike WiLL Made-It on Friday night, May 26, before Atlanta United host NYCFC on Sunday, May 28 (5 pm ET, ESPN and ESPN Deportes in US, MLS LIVE in Canada).
And to celebrate the connections between Atlanta music and soccer, we asked Jenkins to share the following....
Footie Mob's essential Atlanta tailgate playlist
- Kilo Ali, “Hear What I Hear (That Boom)” (Jenkins notes that it was released a couple of months after “Totally Krossed Out” and “felt more like an honest attempt at an Atlanta sound
- Outkast, “Bombs Over Baghdad” (“This is the basis for one of our chants, with a rapid fire intro that doesn't let up at all.”)
- TLC, “What About Your Friends" (“LaFace had an empire in Atlanta and it started with TLC.")
- Goodie Mob, “Soul Food” (“SW ATL condensed to 3:56.”)
- Ludacris, “Roll Out.”
- T.I., “24's.”
- Future, “March Madness.” (Jenkins notes, “If we'd won the first game there would have been an after party playing this on loop for two hours.”)
- Migos, “White Tee"
- Crime Mob, “Knuck if You Buck” (“Shout out to Yamil Asad's elbows.")
- Cool Breeze, “Watch for the Hook” (Jenkins dubs this “the best Dungeon Family collaboration by far.")
- Run the Jewels, “All Due Respect”
- DJ Unk, “Walk It Out (featuring Andre 3000)”