The Atlanta Beat made the playoffs in the now defunct Women’s United Soccer Association all three years the league existed.

They were the only team who could make that claim. Twice, the Beat went on to play in the league’s championship match.

Sunday, a new effort to bring professional women’s soccer to America began as the aptly named Women’s Professional Soccer league debuted with the Los Angeles Sol defeating the Washington Freedom 2-0.

The Atlanta Beat will not be playing in the new league this season. But there is good news: They could be back in action year.

An Atlanta team is scheduled to enter the league in 2010, and fans are being given the opportunity to choose the team’s name. Sunday, as a result of online voting so far, the list of possible names was narrowed to three finalists: Attack, Beat, or Storm.

If the new franchise keeps the old name, the team will not be setting a precedent. Supporters of Seattle’s new club in Major League Soccer used a write-in campaign to name the team the Sounders, carrying on a tradition that began when Seattle fielded the minor-league Sounders. In the NFL, Cleveland kept the name Browns when the historic franchise left town, and the name was transferred to an expansion team. In the new Women’s Professional Soccer league, two franchises have retained names used when they played in WUSA from 2001 to 2003: the Washington Freedom and Boston Breakers.

The Atlanta Beat was a pioneering team in the history of women’s soccer. By rights, the tradition should continue. You can vote to make that happen by going to this Web site and clicking on Beat as your choice: http://www.atlantawomensprosoccer.com

If you do, you are also invited to put on some sunglasses, break out your bongos, even wear a beret if you want, and join our supporters club: the Atlanta Beatniks.

Vote for the Beat, or as Jack Kerouac would say, be square.

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Keith Graham

Keith Graham

Keith Graham was among the recipients of the prestigious Stella Artois prize at the 2010 Edinburgh Festival. Named for a blind piano player, he is also well known for always giving money to street accordion players. A quotation that he considers meaningful comes from the Irish writer Roddy Doyle: "The family trees of the poor don't grow to any height." In addition to contributing to Like the Dew, Keith frequently posts quotations and links and occasionally longer articles at http://tartantambourine.com/