Atlanta United is quickly developing a reputation around MLS for being a club that does almost everything right. Well, that certainly hasn’t changed with the unveiling of a phenomenal training facility in Marietta yesterday.
“This beautiful training ground is a central piece in the success of our club and represents the vision and dedication of the Atlanta United leadership team,” said Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank. “Our aim for the club is to produce a top-quality, winning product on and off of the pitch and this facility is the cornerstone of that commitment. Every detail of the project was planned and executed thoughtfully, and we are excited to be an active, supportive and integrated asset in the community.”
The 30,000 square foot facility includes (breathes in) six full-size pitches, a state of the art gym that opens up to the first team fields, a recovery area, six academy locker rooms, a 3,000 square foot dining room and terrace, a 2,500 seat stand, and a hydrotherapy room(breathes out).
All those are great accommodations to have, but what stood out to me the most was how each pitch has a specific purpose. Two are used for first team training, two for the academy, one “community activation” field that will be used to host other soccer-specific events, and a “Show Pitch”.
The Show Pitch is quite interesting because it will be used to host visiting national and international clubs, open training sessions, community matches, and clinics. “Whenever we host a team at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, this venue here will be used as the training facility, and that’s why we have a Show Pitch with 2,500 seats in it,” said Atlanta United president Darren Eales. “Whether it’s the Mexico national team that’s coming here to train before they play a game, whether it’s Tottenham that come over or Barcelona, we will have them training here and have open training sessions so our fans and our community can come and watch them.”
Eales also doesn’t rule out using the Show Pitch as a future host site for home U.S. Open Cup matches, but admits “it won’t be used for this year’s competition”.
Another neat aspect of the facility is the locker rooms, and the thought that went behind them. The first team locker room is located in the heart of the building and represents where players aspire to be. The six academy locker rooms, one for each age group, are progressively sized and scaled with additional amenities included as the players move up through the academy. This promotes aspirations for academy players of all ages to reach the top level.
“We never dreamed that we would have anything like this,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber. “You need great facilities, and we can’t wait to get into Mercedes-Benz Stadium. However, you also need what you have here, and we only have half a dozen of them throughout MLS. This is an unbelievable model for our league of what a training ground can be. In its own way, appropriate for the size of our league and the size of where we are today, this is best in class and I’m absolutely in awe of what I’ve been able to see.”
All in all, Atlanta United now has a pretty dope place they can call home. Cheers to everyone who helped make this happen.