U.S. Soccer selects Fayette County in metro Atlanta as its new home

Headquarters with training center to built near Trilith Studios
A conceptual image of the U.S. Soccer National Training Center that will be built in Fayette County.

Credit: Photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer

Credit: Photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer

A conceptual image of the U.S. Soccer National Training Center that will be built in Fayette County.

The United States Soccer Federation is planning to buy a site in Fayette County to be the location for its new National Training Center and headquarters.

The USSF Board of Governors voted to move ahead with purchasing the site during a meeting Thursday. The site, comprising more than 200 acres, is located to the west of Veterans Parkway and north of Trilith Studios.

Closing on the purchase is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The cost wasn’t disclosed. Groundbreaking is expected in the spring of 2024, with an estimated completion date before the 2026 World Cup, which will include matches played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in October that Fayette County was a possibility. Nine locations around metro Atlanta were considered.

“We wanted to prioritize finding a place that can support not just for U.S. Soccer today but supporting soccer well into the future,” USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone said in an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This facility is not only for them (the teams), but also for our referees, our coaches our membership, and professionals working in our sport.”

USSF announced in September that it was relocating its headquarters from Chicago to the Atlanta area. It also announced it would build a first-of-its-kind training site to house its 27 national teams. Arthur Blank, owner of Atlanta United and the Falcons, donated $50 million toward the project. Coca-Cola, whose headquarters are in Atlanta, also was announced as a founding partner. Cone thanked Blank, Coca-Cola and the Coca-Cola Foundation for help making USSF’s dream a reality.

“As I said at the announcements of our gifts to support the development of a national training center, we could not be more thrilled that America’s very best soccer players will be training here in metro Atlanta,” Blank said in a statement provided by USSF. “Today’s announcement of the location for the new National Training Center will go down as another historic milestone in the rich sports history of this region and our state, and I think the site is going to be terrific for U.S. Soccer and the thousands of players, coaches and staff who will benefit from this investment for decades to come.”

Cone said that sites have been scouted for two years. The site in Fayette County was decided because of its proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (many players for the U.S. men’s and women’s senior teams play overseas) and downtown Atlanta, an ability to drive economic impact locally, community amenities and a climate that will allow the teams to train year-round. AMBSE CEO Steve Cannon and USSF CEO JT Baston were involved in the search.

“It’s a vibrant community, the quality of life is great and proximity to a diverse metropolitan city really made it the optimal location for us,” Cone said.

A former player for the Atlanta Beat, a defunct women’s professional team, and the U.S. women’s national team, Cone said the training center will help players and officials of all levels, from the grassroots to the elite.

Representatives of USSF are engaged in conversations with an architectural firm, construction and project team to develop the site. Agreements are expected to be reached by the end of the year. She said that USSF still is working through to decide if there will be naming rights for the training center.

Preliminary plans for the site will include as many 12 fields, a field for beach soccer, an indoor field, more than 100,000 square feet of indoor courts, and the training center/headquarters, which will cover more than 200,000 square feet. USSF employs approximately 250 people. Discussions haven’t yet taken place regarding who may move to the metro area. Part of Blank’s donation is earmarked for construction of facilities for the men’s and women’s extended teams.

“Growing up in Fayetteville, Georgia, playing for our Youth National Teams and dreaming of playing for the full team, I never could have imagined that one day U.S. Soccer’s home would so close to where I made so many childhood memories,” women’s national team player Kelley O’Hara said in a statement provided by USSF. “My worlds are definitely colliding. It’s such a beautiful area with a great sense of community. I can’t wait to welcome everyone from U.S. Soccer to Fayette County once the National Training Center is complete.”

A conceptual image of the U.S. Soccer National Training Center that will be built in Fayette County.

Credit: Photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer

icon to expand image

Credit: Photo courtesy of U.S. Soccer

The site decision is another step in the city’s goal of becoming the soccer capital of the United States.

In addition to the new headquarters and training center, Atlanta and Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host the opening match of next year’s Copa America, which will include reigning World Cup champ Argentina, and it will host a match played by the U.S. men’s national team.

The city and stadium will host part of the 2026 World Cup. FIFA has yet to announce which sites will host which level of matches.

This summer, the stadium hosted a doubleheader of matches between Premier League teams Chelsea and Newcastle, and Brighton and Brentford.

There are other international tournaments coming up that the Atlanta Sports Council, which puts together the bids on events, likely will pursue, including the Club World Cup in 2025 and the Women’s World Cup in 2027.

The city already is the home of Atlanta United, which has led MLS in attendance in each of the past seven seasons. The city hosted the MLS All-Star game and MLS Cup in 2018.

“U.S. Soccer joins a long and proud tradition of sports in the Peach State, including our fast-growing soccer fan base,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement provided by USSF. “This project will solidify Georgia’s position at the forefront of this increasingly popular sport, from the success of our own Atlanta United team to the FIFA World Cup 2026 events in a few short years.”

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