Tourneys will tackle Atlanta’s growing taste for soccer at Stonecrest

A bustling sports complex in Stonecrest will host youth soccer tournaments 40 weeks a year, become the home of two professional soccer teams and create 361 jobs on the site.

That’s according to an economic impact study by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government.

Atlanta Sports City, announced this week, is expected to begin construction this fall on 200 acres next to Stonecrest Mall. It will eventually include a 15,000-seat stadium and 22 fields.

“With the growth of tournament-style play, Georgia Soccer indicates that the Atlanta metropolitan area needs a facility large enough to handle events that draw teams from across the state and the southeast,” according to the study prepared for Discover DeKalb, the county’s nonprofit tourism marketing agency.

READ: Economic impact study for Atlanta Sports City

The complex will be able to handle 4,800 participants at a time, according to the study.

Minor league expansion teams are expected to be announced for the site within weeks.

A men’s soccer team would be part of the North American Soccer League, which is the division below Major League Soccer, according to the UGA study. Atlanta United is playing its first MLS season this year at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta.

A women’s team would be part of the National Women’s Soccer League, the top-level pro league in the United States.

Both teams would play in the stadium at Atlanta Sports City, leasing it for $3,500 per home match, the study said. The teams would retain revenue from ticket sales.

The men’s team would play 15 home games each season, and the women’s team would play 10 home games.

As for employment, most of the 361 permanent jobs on-site will be for athletic program staff such as directors, assistants and officials. Other jobs include sales, management, restaurants and medical staff.

In all, the facility could have a $197 million total economic impact in Georgia. The study found that the potential economic output of the facility supports a total 1,937 jobs across the state.

While soccer will be the main event at Atlanta Sports City, it will host more than two dozen sports including football, baseball, basketball, lacrosse, volleyball, martial arts and rugby.

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