Up until his death in 2000, Willie B. the gorilla was the most popular attraction at Zoo Atlanta. Instead of a mere statue or winding highway in the shape of his silhouette, Willie's legacy lives on in the form of a professional soccer team: the Atlanta Silverbacks. The Silverbacks, who were called the Atlanta Ruckus before changing their name in 1998, originally played as part of the USL from 1999–2009, at which point the team announced its departure to become co-founders of the North American Soccer Association. Today, the Silverbacks draw fans to the 5,000-seat stadium at Atlanta Silverbacks Park, a sprawling complex with four full-size soccer fields for professional, semi-pro, and amateur play.
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