CHICAGO (September 15, 2023) - As part of U.S. Soccer’s ambitious strategic plan to grow soccer across the country, the Federation today announced that Philanthropist Arthur M. Blank has contributed $50 million to support building a National Training Center and expand opportunities across the soccer ecosystem.
U.S. Soccer plans to construct the nation’s first-ever designated National Training Center in the Atlanta area funded in part by the contribution from The Home Depot co-founder and Atlanta United owner. The facility will serve as headquarters for the U.S. Soccer Federation, creating a central hub for the entire soccer community, including coaches and referees, to access best-in-class training, technology and infrastructure to promote successful and sustainable playing environments throughout the country. For players, the National Training Center will provide the best environment, guaranteeing uninterrupted access to elite infrastructure for training, development, recovery and performance analysis – cultivating expertise and excellence in the sport on an international level.
While the National Training Center will be utilized by all 27 of U.S. Soccer’s National Teams, part of Blank’s contribution will specifically go towards the construction of facilities for U.S. Soccer’s nine Extended National Teams (ENTs), particularly in support of the Cerebral Palsy (CP), Deaf, and Power Soccer National Teams, including thoughtful design of locker rooms and training facilities to maximize accessibility for players.
Blank’s contribution will also fuel the Federation’s work to develop winning teams and grow the game across the U.S. This includes bolstering support of women’s youth national team camps and women’s coaching and mentorship initiatives. The National Training Center will also host youth tournaments, soccer community conferences and will be a gathering place for the broader soccer ecosystem.
Support from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation will also provide community programming to benefit soccer-focused non-profits in Metro Atlanta, including Soccer in the Streets and GA 100 partners, that provide access, training and expert coaching opportunities to underserved communities. The Foundation and U.S. Soccer will leverage resources provided by the grant to create opportunities for community groups to be exposed to soccer through on-site experiences at tournaments and other events at the National Training Center and broadly supporting our membership.
“This National Training Center will accelerate the growth of soccer in this country and will represent a commitment to developing elite soccer players for decades to come,” said U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone. “Investing in youth and adult programs as well as our Extended National Teams reflects our commitment to ensuring that players of all ages and backgrounds can find a home and thrive in this sport. These investments are a signal to our players, coaches, referees, members and fans that the future of U.S. Soccer is bright.”
“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. “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. I’m also pleased to help U.S. Soccer with community outreach and soccer development among underserved communities as part of our contribution and know that it will benefit scores of young people through engagement with the beautiful game for generations to come.”
As Georgia continues to develop as a hub for major sporting events and international soccer matches, officials from Georgia expressed great enthusiasm about the National Training Center.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp noted: “Georgia is proud to welcome U.S. Soccer’s new headquarters and looks forward to working alongside them to build a new home for American soccer players and fans. For many decades, sports have been an essential part of Georgia's history and culture. Events like the 1996 Olympics laid the groundwork for current and upcoming major attractions like the 2026 FIFA World Cup. From hosting visitors to training the next generation of athletes, we're glad that this project will create new opportunities for local businesses and hardworking Georgians.”
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said of the news: “Atlanta is a sports town—and just like soccer in America, we are dynamic, diverse and passionate. There is no better place for this sport to call home during such a critical time. On behalf of the people of Atlanta, we are extremely honored to welcome U.S. Soccer to our community and look forward to this new partnership and our city becoming even more of a soccer destination than it already is.”
The Coca-Cola Company, which announced a long-term partnership with U.S. Soccer in early July and has been a global partner of FIFA’s since 1974, played an important role in bringing the National Training Center to the company’s hometown of Atlanta.
“Our company’s purpose is to refresh the world and make a difference,” said Jennifer Mann, President of Coca-Cola North America. “We are committed to empowering communities, inspiring future generations and fostering a legacy of unity that supports the growth of soccer in our hometown.”
U.S. Soccer CEO and Secretary General JT Batson is leading the search for a site in the Atlanta area and have been advised by Deloitte on the project. The region reflects the diversity and evolution of U.S. Soccer, as well as its strong enthusiasm for the sport. U.S. Soccer will be working closely with key partners, stakeholders and officials across the Metro Atlanta community and State of Georgia to gather feedback and earn support from local stakeholders to construct the new center and be a community partner.
U.S. Soccer is currently pursuing potential sites for the National Training Center and is conducting due diligence to assess their feasibility. With rising external investment and thriving local economies, all sites currently being evaluated would make excellent locations for the future National Training Center. The final decision on location for the National Training Center will be made in January of 2024.