The US Soccer Federation plans to build a national training center in Atlanta with the financial support of Arthur Blank.
The USSF announced plans for the training center on Friday. Blank, who owns the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United of MLS, is contributing $50 million to the project. A site for the facility will be selected in January, the USSF said.
“This national training center will accelerate the growth of soccer in this country and represent a commitment to the development of elite soccer players for decades to come,” USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone said in a statement.
The USSF said in 2002 that the complex in Carson, California would serve as its national training center. Although often used during winter training camps, the men’s national team has placed pre-match training in locations more convenient for its matches, such as in Florida before matches in the Caribbean and Central America and close to home venues. US Soccer also opened a national development center in Kansas City, Kansas in 2018.
The federation’s headquarters were in New York, then moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has been in Chicago since 1991. The USSF said the new facility will be the training ground for all 27 national teams and their headquarters.
“America’s top athletes deserve the best when it comes to preparing them to compete on the global stage, and I am thrilled that US Soccer has chosen metro Atlanta as its new home,” Blank said in a statement.
“Atlanta’s incredible passion for soccer, corporate community and unmatched infrastructure make it a natural home for a national training center, and I am very confident that our community will help America’s best soccer players compete on a global level like never before.”
Atlanta’s burgeoning soccer scene, including Atlanta United’s sellout performance at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, was key to North America’s successful bid for the 2026 World Cup.
Funding from Blank, co-founder of Home Depot, will be directed specifically toward building facilities for nine expanded US Soccer national teams, including support for the Cerebral Palsy, Deaf and Power National Teams.
The USSF says Blank’s contribution also targets women’s youth national team camps, women’s coaching and mentoring initiatives and soccer-focused nonprofits in the Atlanta area. The national training center will be used to organize youth tournaments and community football conferences.
“I’m also happy to help US Soccer with community outreach and soccer development among underserved communities as part of our contribution, and I know it will benefit many young people through their involvement in this beautiful game for generations to come.” Blank said.
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