ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta United FC will build a $60 million, privately funded training complex about 15 miles north of downtown in Marietta.
Owner Arthur Blank's Major League Soccer expansion franchise will play its first season next year. Construction of the training complex, which includes a 30,000-square foot building, six fields and a youth academy, starts next April.
Team President Darren Eales and Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin joined Blank on Monday to announce the project.
Blank, the Home Depot co-founder and owner of the Atlanta NFL franchise since 2002, said construction on the Falcons' and United's $1.4 billion downtown Mercedes-Benz Stadium is on schedule to open June 1, 2017.
"We have several thousand folks working down there every single day, pretty much from 6 a.m. 'til 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning," Blank said. "They're making really good progress. The steel is going up on a timely basis, so we feel good about where we are right now. But there's a lot of work to be done in a relatively short period of time."
United will play most of its road games the first few months of the season with the MLS schedule beginning in March.
"That's normal actually from MLS probably the last dozen teams that have expanded in the league," Blank said. "In some cases they've played a full season away or at another facility. We don't expect that to be the case."
Eales and his staff visited training complexes around the world to devise plans for United's 33-acre site.
"It will give is credibility and visibility in world soccer," he said. "International teams will train here when they play at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, (and) we'll have the academy team training with our first team. They'll get to see their heroes training."?