ATLANTA — The U.S. Soccer Federation is building its national training center and headquarters right here in metro Atlanta, officials announced Friday.
Arthur M. Blank, the co-founder of The Home Depot and owner of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, contributed $50 million to support the effort.
The facility will serve as a central hub for the entire soccer community, including coaches and referees. They will have access to training technology, and more. Players will all have a chance to benefit from development, recovery, and performance analysis at the facility.
Soccer officials said they are still pursuing potential sites in the area. The final decision on where it will located will be made in January.
"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,” Blank said in a news release.
The National Training Center will be used by all 27 of U.S. Soccer’s national teams. However, a portion of Blank’s contribution will go towards the construction of facilities for the nine Extended National Teams (ENTs), particularly in support of the Cerebral Palsy, Deaf, and Power Soccer National Teams. The goal is to create an environment where there is thoughtful design of locker rooms and training facilities to maximize accessibility for players.
There's also a desire to bolster support for women's youth national team camps, coaching and mentoring initiatives. The facility will be a place to host youth tournaments and more.
“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," U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone said.
U.S. Soccer officials said the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company played an important role in bringing the facility to metro Atlanta. The soda giant has a long-term partnership with U.S. Soccer.
"There is no better place for this sport to call home during such a critical time. On behalf of the people of Atlanta, we are extremely honored to welcome U.S. Soccer to our community and look forward to this new partnership and our city becoming even more of a soccer destination than it already is," Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said in a news release.
Gov. Brian Kemp applauded the move Friday.
“Georgia is proud to welcome U.S. Soccer’s new headquarters and looks forward to working alongside them to build a new home for American soccer players and fans,” he said.