The argument could have already been made that Atlanta was the soccer capital of the United States. Atlanta United, the city’s soccer team and arguably its most popular professional sports franchise, has led Major League Soccer (MLS) in attendance year after year and by wide margins. Not to mention the World Cup is coming to Atlanta in 2026. The latest piece of evidence for the case of Atlanta’s North American soccer dominance was officially announced this afternoon inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The U.S. Soccer Foundation will build a new headquarters and national training facility in metro Atlanta, according to their social media accounts. Atlanta United, Atlanta Falcons owner and founder of the Arthur M. Blank Foundation, Arthur Blank is making a major $50 million contribution to that project.
During a press conference Saturday afternoon hours before United hosted Inter Miami (who was without superstar Lionel Messi) Blank said of the project and his foundation’s financial contribution, “We’re completely committed.”
Blank, who stood on stage before a blue backdrop that said “ONE NATION. ONE TEAM” in both English and Spanish, credited Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber for how much he has learned about soccer. “My level of trust and commitment to this level of soccer has come through the eyes and ears of Don Garber.”
Garber, who has been commissioner since 1999, spoke of the initial conversations he had with Blank about bringing an MLS team to Atlanta more than five years ago. He spoke of Blank telling him that Atlanta was a city “that represents a new America.”
“This is one of the most important projects in the history of soccer in America,” said Garber, who added that he hopes the Men’s National Team will be able to use it before World Cup 2026.
The exact location of the headquarters and training facility will be announced at a later date, according to a release from U.S. Soccer. There is also the possibility of hundreds of jobs coming to where the facility is built. The timetable for the grand opening of the headquarters and facility wasn’t discussed either.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, who was brought on the stage by moderator Sarah Walsh as “Andrew Dickens” was in attendance. The native Atlantan and big sports fan said of the headquarters and training facility coming to metro Atlanta, “This is big y’all. This is a great day for soccer in the ATL.”
Dickens added, “Atlanta is a sports city, we are a soccer city and now we are the capital of soccer in this nation.”