U.S. Soccer is headed to Atlanta

U.S. Soccer is going for it.

On Friday, the federation announced that it's going forward with plans for a national training center that will also be the new home to its headquarters.

The federation's new home will be in the Atlanta area, and Arthur Blank, the Home Depot co-founder and Atlanta United and Atlanta Falcons owner, has contributed $50 million to support the project.

U.S. Soccer CEO and Secretary General JT Batson is leading the search for a site. The final decision on a location for the new headquarters will be made in January of 2024.

U.S. Soccer has been headquartered in Chicago since 1991, recently leaving U.S. Soccer House for new offices. The headquarters were at New York's Empire State Building for many years before the federation's financial problems forced it to move, first to a hotel room near John F. Kennedy Airport, then to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where other national governing bodies had offices subsidized by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Many federations have massive training centers: France at Clairefontaine -- where players stay at a nineteenth-century chateau of the grounds -- Italy at Coverciano -- opened in 1958 and featuring a soccer museum -- and Brazil at the 36-acre Granja Comary complex in Teresopolis.

In Europe, UEFA's largesse has allowed federations to built state-of-the-art facilities. Smaller federations around the world have used FIFA development grants -- controversial for their political overtones -- as seed money for training complexes and headquarters.

U.S. Soccer's training center will be home to the 27 national teams it operates -- the most in the world -- allowing them to train at the same location and play host to tournaments.

U.S. Soccer has had an operating agreement at the LA Galaxy's facilities in Carson since the stadium opened in 2003 and maintains a coaching education center at the Compass Minerals National Performance Center that opened in 2018 in Kansas City.

Senior national teams usually train at facilities near home venues -- preferring state-of-the-art facilities MLS teams have built in recent years -- while youth teams often train at soccer or sports complexes in California and Florida.

Blank’s contribution will specifically be earmarked to include the construction of facilities for U.S. Soccer’s nine Extended National Teams, including the Cerebral Palsy, Deaf, and Power programs.

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation will also support soccer-focused non-profits in Metro Atlanta, including Soccer in the Streets and GA 100 partners.

“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,” said Blank in a statement. “Atlanta’s incredible passion for soccer, corporate community and unmatched infrastructure make this a natural home for the National Training Center and I’m very confident our community will help America’s finest soccer players compete on a global level like never before."

Blank’s contribution will cover only a fraction of the cost of the project. U.S. Soccer is soliciting contributions from donors to raise about $300 million.

21 comments about "U.S. Soccer is headed to Atlanta".
  1. frank schoon, September 16, 2023 at 8:13 a.m.

    So we'll have the best facilities in the world. Yes, a Taj Mahal of soccer facilities and we might even build nice facility on the Moon to go there in the summer time. But until we develop a good product to use those facilities, it will be like building a nice house on a weak foundation....

    Until we direct our efforts into improving the develop of our youth much better than what is currently the case...it'll be just another show pony affair like the US Soccer Five Pillar strategy.

    I much rather see part of this money to be used to create a strategy to bring over retired greats that could avail themselves of  all the 'practical' knowledge of the game, that current youth coaches, HS coaches, College coaches, instructors at the socalled Coaching Academy and up have clue of and lack...

  2. Greedy Striker replied, September 16, 2023 at 8:35 a.m.


  3. Alfred Randall replied, September 17, 2023 at 4:18 p.m.

    Always negative and always anti-American, nothing in this country is correct according to the schoon!

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, September 18, 2023 at 6:51 p.m.

    Greedy and Alfred, what impression do you think you make with these personal attacks? Please avoid the personal attacks. Can't you disagree without them?

  5. R2 Dad, September 16, 2023 at 9:22 a.m.

    Since there is no such thing as free lunch, I'm wondering what was promised in return. Billionaires aren't known for throwing money around without a spacific return. Also, do all the Nats coaches now have to live in Atlanta?

  6. frank schoon replied, September 16, 2023 at 9:38 a.m.

    R2 as a slight consolation , if I had to pick between these two I would go for Atlanta by leaps and bounds anyway not Chicago, or rather anywhere below the Mason-Dixon line  :)

  7. Juris Jauntirans, September 16, 2023 at 9:42 a.m.

    Atlanta's "incredible passion" for soccer (really?) does not even approach to the Blank's desire to control soccer in the US. Instead of a Taj Mahal the individual components of the National organization need to be distributed throughout the US for more visibility and and presence. The emphasis has to be on development of players instead of concentrating all attention solely on national teams. Is the US going to rely on dual nationals forever? When will be the coaching issues resolved and vindictive coaches not appointed?
    Before investing as much as a billion$ in one location a healthy discussion is required.
    Are national politics already involved?

  8. frank schoon replied, September 16, 2023 at 9:59 a.m.

    Juris, excellent points...I have no idea about the character of this individual and what his goal(s) is/ are , but decentralizing is the way to go along with seriously talking about pickup soccer as needing to become part of our culture is a MUST. Otherwise, decentralizing will be a micro of the macro situation run by the same type of crowd that runs the National situation...

    As far as pickup soccer, R2 showed a video a while ago about a pickup soccer facility in Atlanta that is very unique and very interesting...

  9. Philip Carragher, September 16, 2023 at 11:56 a.m.

    I'd prefer to focus on the software rather than the hardware.

  10. Bob Ashpole, September 16, 2023 at 1:53 p.m.

    Frank, there is a big difference in attitudes toward other people between North Carolina and some areas in Georgia. Virginia is the same way. Northern Virginia, Virginia Beach, Charlottesville, and Roanoke offer completely different experiences. I did at tour at Fort Bragg and lived in the local community. 90% of the populutation around the base were from other states. The ten percent of natives always distinguished themselves by their social grace and beautiful accent. On top of that North Carolina BBQ is the best in the world.

    I never met a North Carlonia native that I didn't like, and I as a prosecutor I met a lot of them.

    I have visited or lived in most of the states over the years and North Carolina by far treats strangers better than anywhere else. 

  11. frank schoon replied, September 16, 2023 at 2:15 p.m.

    Bob ,that's why I mentioned below the Mason Dixon line. Were going to travel down South for a week to Tenn, NC ,Alabama, Georgia...I remember playing on a club soccer team at UT Knoxville and we traveled all over down South, it was gorgeous, love it...Last year we went to NC, SC, Georgia, Tenn....The drives are incredible....

  12. humble 1, September 16, 2023 at 6:09 p.m.

    USSF was at Chicago House since 1991.  Chicago Fire, after a hot start became one of the poorest implemenations of a football club in the MLS.  Abandoning their Polish and Mexican fans and moving to Bridgeview, in one of the most epic failures in the history of the MLS, they could never fill the stadium.  This was not far from the burn Chivas flop.  Today - they still struggle.  Then in 2018 - Chicago opts out of bidding for 2026 World Cup.  The organization needed to move.  In alls aspects - this needed to happen.  Credit to the team running the organization now.  Bold move, coordinated with Arther Blank, a man in the process of revolutionalizing the sport with most fans clueless what he is doing.  He build the American Football / Soccer - convertable stadium that Atlanta fans love and flock to.  He invests in the sport - and he does it wisely - considering the context - but not being limited by it.  A pioneer.  I for one - former resident of Chicago - thankful for the move - and the investment.  Make it happen!

  13. humble 1 replied, September 16, 2023 at 6:15 p.m.

    This is how we need to do soccer in USA - the Arthur Blank and Cindy Parlow-Cone way - considering and respectful the context - but not be limited by it.  RESPECTFUL. SMART. INNOVATIVE. BOLD.  Our implementation of soccer - football - in our unique context - must be unique - respectful of the sport - and our nation - and all it embodies.  LONG TIME COMING.  Could not be to a more deserving city - one that has embraced the sport - and - will host WC games in 2026.  Thank you!  

  14. Alan Blackledge, September 17, 2023 at 8:49 a.m.

    Bottom line, this is a good move. Paying to have former great players come to coach would be fools gold. The "best" players develop themselves at a very young age because they are addicted to the game & almost always have a ball with them looking for a " game" or simply driving their parents/caregivers crazy juggling, shooting, dribbling in the house, yard, or streets. If these "magic" coaches existed they would be making a fortune & there country would consistently win the WC. Brazil, Germany, Italy have won the most because they are a soccer culture thru & thru. Their kids play constantly in the street, like our inner city youth play basketball. Setting up play dates & joining teams at a young age because your parents sign you up and take you to practice stifles development IMHOP BECAUSE the kids are being coached and not developing skills through free play. Pick up gaming at a young age is a lost art. Various ages playing against each other, challenging each other, and fighting with each other without adult interference is where the steal is truly forged...

  15. frank schoon replied, September 18, 2023 at 8:15 a.m.

    Alan ,really, you obviously have no clue how youth develop.  Just about any sport, for instance, basketball try reading about those characters .  Try reading some books ,or some biographies about great players and see where they learned their moves and mannerisms of playing. Begin reading Zlatan, Cruyff, Jinky,Ginola, etc..,etc.  You watch and learn from the great ones.
    Youth look up to great players and try to emulate and learn their moves...You have obviously never played picked or even were involved in that type of subculture.  In pickup kids learn from older kids who in turn learn from even older and or  watch professionals play. They all learn and watch others players in order to learn new things....

    When Cruyff was playing with Ajax the kids not only try to copy the moves, like the Cruyff turn, and other mannerisms but also have his haircut....You obviously have no clue for you wouldn't make such a stupid statement....

  16. frank schoon replied, September 18, 2023 at 8:33 a.m.

    Alan, And on a higher level former greats who have played at the highest level ,have experiences that the average licensed, dimwit coach has never experienced or could ever teach to players. Greats have 'insights' about the game that just aren't in books to read... This is why national team coaches in Europe pick assistants who themselves were greats in order to give tips for players to learn from....  There is a reason why Ajax staff coaches were former greats that teach the youth. In this manner they youth have to make the same mistakes the former greats learned from; and this is done all over Europe to hire former greats to help out...This is why Cruyff wants to only hire former players who played at the highest level because they see the game better and able to not only demonstrate and teach the inner knowledge of what is needed to play the game....

  17. Bob Ashpole replied, September 18, 2023 at 6:48 p.m.

    Alan, I was one of the typical dimwit youth coaches, and I share Frank's view. I think I did a good job teaching fundamentals, but essentially I had to create a curriculum and figure out training plans on my own. While I had played a lot of positions at a relatively high competitive level during the mid-80s, there were large gaps in my experience, gaps that I didn't even realize were there.

    What is sad is that I was probably the best youth coach those kids had unless they went on to play elite soccer at U16 or above. I had no DOC, no club support, and I rejected out of hand what the "licensed youth coaches" were doing. I actually had one of them tell me I was making a mistake by not having the kids play kick-and-chase soccer. What I found very difficult was teaching dribbling, because there were basic moves that I could not demonstrate, like a Mathews for instance. Some of my moves were unique and I didn't want to confuse the kids with an unconventional technique.

    While I generally did a decent job teaching fundamentals, in hindsight there was things I would do differently. Although I focused on ball skills, I should have focused on them even more. While I combined tactical with technical training, I did not realize how much good tactics need to be included in technique training so that using the good tactics is automatic. This is equally important in passing and dribbling.

    I went into this detail to give you an idea why better players make better coaches and better training even for the fundamental stage. Quality matters more than quantity.

  18. humble 1 replied, September 19, 2023 at 2:31 p.m.

    Alan, Bob, Frank, I agree with Frank and Bob, since we have no system - we need experience people.  Let me put it to you this way.  Man U the organization what happened after the man Ferguson left?  What about more currently, Chelsea, after Abromovich left?  Now ask yourself this question, what happens to Man City when Pep leaves?  So you see - the people - in soccer - they are the key. You can have all your license, all your books, all your training, in the end, in this sport, you must, I mean, you must have people that have developed themselves and developed others, othersise, you will not acheive at the highest level.  This is part of why I am OK with Berhalter and co, they have done it, maybe part way as a coach, but not flopped yet, can see him/them growing.  So anyway - Alan - we all agree - especially Frank - about open play - this is the foundation - but don't fool yourself - players learn from players - and at the highest level - you must have the best - and experience - otherwise your outcome will be like Chelsea - lots in - nothing out.  Good day.  

  19. Wallace Wade, September 17, 2023 at 4:50 p.m.

    Why would they require Mr. Blank's $ to fund this? Just curious. Is it due to all the $ they have blown through defending lawsuits? Any other National Team Training facilities funded by Team owners in their domestic League? 

  20. humble 1 replied, September 19, 2023 at 2:25 p.m.

    When you say they - referring to USSF - remember - this crew - the soccer player crew - they - are cleaning up the mess - left to them by prior leadership that was sitting on treasure - not investing in sport - and decided to indirectly employ the WNT players - by paying part of their salary - there-by taking on certain risks - and failed to monitor their work places - and further - have free academy to boys - DA - while the girls all had to pay for ECNL - for over a decade - until 2018 - when the canary began to sing.  That same 'they' allowed their HQ host city - to NOT bid on the 2026 WC games - and be stuffed.  So let's just be clear about who 'they' are.  The folks in charge now - are still cleaning up the mess - including the location of HQ in Chicago - and Mr. Black - who has overseen one of the best implementation of MLS Soccer - is helping out - with a bunch of his treasure.  Leaders - innovators - don't sit on the pot of gold - they invest it.  Carry on!  

  21. humble 1 replied, September 19, 2023 at 2:26 p.m.

    Mr. Blank, excuse me.  Thank you.  

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