Atlanta is about to become the center of the professional soccer universe.
That’s because U.S. Soccer, the governing body of pro soccer in the U.S., plans to construct a National Training Center in Metropolitan Atlanta.
The 110-year-old United States Soccer Federation (the full name of U.S. Soccer) is moving from its current headquarters in Chicago, Illinois to a yet-to-be-named location in Atlanta. Once the facility is completed, it will become the new headquarters of the organization. It will also become the national hub for all things pro soccer, with uninterrupted and elite access to training, development, recovery, and performance analysis, in one single place.
Arthur Blank, who owns the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta’s MLS team, Atlanta United, announced he will kick in $50 million to help get the project online. U.S. Soccer says that his contribution will help develop winning soccer teams and further expand the sport nationwide. The Center will host youth tournaments, soccer community conferences, and, according to U.S. Soccer, “be a gathering place for the broader soccer ecosystem.”
Locally, soccer-focused non-profit organizations in Metro Atlanta, like Soccer in the Streets and GA 100 partners, will benefit from Blank’s contribution.
The planned facility underscores Atlanta’s arrival not just as a city of championship-contending and winning teams, but also as the home of the business and training infrastructure professional sports depend on.
“America’s top athletes deserve the best when it comes to preparing them for competition on the global stage and I’m thrilled U.S. Soccer has chosen metro Atlanta as its new home,” said Blank in a statement. “Atlanta’s incredible passion for soccer, corporate community, and unmatched infrastructure make this a natural home for the National Training Center and I’m very confident our community will help America’s finest soccer players compete on a global level like never before.”
“This National Training Center will accelerate the growth of soccer in this country and will represent a commitment ot developing elite soccer players for decades to come,” adds U.S. Soccer Presdient Cindy Parlow Cone. “Investing in youth and adult programs as well as our Extended National Teams reflects our commitment to ensuring that players of all ages and backgrounds can find a home and thrive in this sport. These investments are a signal to our players, coaches,referees, members and fans that the future of U.S. Soccer is bright.”
The news of Atlanta landing this prize was well recieved.
Soccer in the South is 𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 ⚽️
We’re excited to have the future HQ and training center for @ussoccer in Atlanta 🇺🇸
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) September 15, 2023
— Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation (@BlankFoundation) September 15, 2023
— Andre Dickens (@andreforatlanta) September 15, 2023
From the Olympics to the FIFA World Cup and iconic Georgia athletes, our state has been home to sports history.
Today, we welcome the latest chapter of that history as @USSoccer chooses Georgia for its new HQ and training facility!
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) September 15, 2023
I work hard to make sure that people know Atlanta isn’t an overnight success in the soccer world. The seeds planted back then are coming to bloom today.
— Jason Longshore (@Longshoe) September 15, 2023
Welcome to ATL! ⚽️ 🏈
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) September 15, 2023
At this time, no exact location has been selected for the facility. U.S. Soccer CEO and Secretary General JT Batson will head up the search. A final decision on where the Center will be is targeted for January 2024.
Image source: U.S. Soccer