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Fields of Dreams: Ground is broken on US Soccer National Training Center

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga.- With shovels in hand, a number of United States Soccer executives, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, and Arthur M. Blank Foundation owner and namesake Arthur Blank moved the first terra firma associated with what will forever be called the Arthur M. Blank Foundation U.S. Soccer National Training Center.

All of those people, local elected officials, local business owners, and the media were on hand for a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning. Located in Fayetteville on a 200-acre plot of land surrounded by farms and winding two-lane roads, the U.S. Soccer National Training Center will be the headquarters for this country’s soccer clubs, including the men’s and women’s national teams, and all of the youth teams associated with the national level. 

With the entire soccer world scheduled to be in Atlanta for the semifinals of the 2026 World Cup, the groundbreaking could not have come at a better time. There is no definitive timetable for when the training center will open. Still, the fact that the headquarters for United States Soccer will be in the south has a lot to do with what Blank and Major League Soccer helped bring to Atlanta seven years ago with Atlanta United. 

Blank mentioned that and his sin Joshua’s love for the game as a youth as part of his growing connection with the sport. A large contributor on a financial level, Blank found out that his name was going to be added to the facility a few days ago. Joshua handled voiceover duties for the honorific video that played before United States Soccer Federation President Cindy Parlow Cone thanked Blank and welcomed him to the stage for comments. 

“This facility will be where dreams will be nurtured and be born,” said Blank, who added that he was amazed at how every country in the world plays soccer. The World Cup semi finals will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Blank’s own backyard. 

Kemp thanked Blank as well and thanked the United States Soccer Federation for “choosing Georgia.” 

“Georgia just has a long and storied sports history,” added Kemp. “We’re so good at hosting these events because we have such good assets and such good people.” 

Some of those people will find jobs at the training center as more than 400 jobs will be made available during and after construction, according to the U.S. Soccer Federation.

U.S. Soccer Federation CEO JT Batson, an Augusta native, used last Saturday’s attendance of more than 50,000 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for a United States Women’s National Team Friendly against Japan as additional proof that Atlanta is a soccer city. 

“We’ve all seen this week how much Georgia loves soccer,” he said. “The National Training Center will provide a world-class environment for the national teams.”

Batson also credited Fayette County and Fayetteville officials for helping make this moment possible. “Y’all have supported us all the way,” he said. 

The site is located 15 miles from the busiest airport in the country, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and 23 miles from the center of downtown Atlanta and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the home of Atlanta United. 

Kemp thanked Blank and the teams behind the U.S. Soccer and Atlanta United for helping make the groundbreaking ceremony possible. 

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