Early last year, Morgan Copes and John Killian set out on a quest to bring professional soccer to the city of Birmingham, AL, and in recent weeks, this big time dream has become more and more of a reality. The team will be known as the Birmingham Hammers, in large part due to the city’s industrial background in the steel industry, which attributed to the success the region once had. The grassroots movement in Birmingham has gained steam since the team’s inception, yet recent revelations have the city waiting in anticipation for the biggest news in the franchise’s early stages.
There are already plans in motion regarding the transformation of historic Legion Field, which would allow the team to play their home games in one of the most iconic venues in all of the south. While that news is certainly groundbreaking, the most recent announcement is what has soccer fans on the edge of their seats. The Hammers have announced the team is set to host a professional side March 21 in Birmingham, which will serve as a product platform and will help the team gauge the city’s interest in supporting a professional sports team.
The city of Birmingham has been starving for a professional sports franchise for years, and this team will capture the hearts of many in what can be considered a soccer town. Birmingham already features several youth academy and high school teams that have risen to national relevancy in recent years, and the Hammers would just be the next step in enhancing the soccer atmosphere in the city.
The Hammers will look to emulate the success of the Birmingham Barons, a double-A minor league baseball team who saw the largest attendance increase in all of minor league baseball last season. The attendance numbers help illustrate the kind of support the city has in the sporting community, and the city will undoubtedly embrace yet another team in town. The effort in the sports community has played a major role in the ongoing rebuilding process the city of Birmingham is currently going through, and the addition of a professional soccer franchise will only have a positive impact on the area.
While the Hammers will most likely start out as a lower-tier professional team in either the USL Pro or NASL divisions, over time the team will be able to elevate their status through hard work internally and support from the community.
The sky is the limit for this franchise, and one day you will be looking at this team at the highest level in the MLS.