HAPEVILLE, Ga. — It’s been a few weeks, but Hapeville City FC is already catching on. 

“I put the word out in mid-March, and slowly but surely plenty of guys…and gals have started coming out every week,” said creator and coach, Bobb Caligiuri.

The free soccer club assembles at Master’s Park in Hapeville every Wednesday evening. The pick-up game is open to all.

“We’re pretty informal, we start about 6 p.m. or until we have a good amount of players, and finish around 8 p.m., or when the sun goes down,” said Caligiuri. 

Caligiuri didn’t grow up playing soccer. He discovered the game later in life, realized he enjoyed it, and now wants to share it with others. 

“So many of us just go to work and come home, we don’t meet people in our community or do something active. This is a chance for all of us from the Tri-Cities area to get to know each other” said Caligiuri.

J.R. Atkins joined Hapeville City FC a few weeks ago and says he also started playing relatively recently. 

“I grew up with football and other sports, but when my son started playing, it made me get into it,” said Atkins. 

While most Americans, especially in the South, grew up with football as their favorite sport, the game has seen a wave of popularity in recent years. 

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In 2018, Atlanta United FC appeared in the MLS Cup in only their second season. While a multi-million-dollar soccer complex and a new Station Soccer location will be completed in East Point by Fall. 

“I think soccer will only become bigger here,” said Caligiuri.

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