USL Expansion: Atlanta United USL Affiliate to Start in 2018

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ATLANTA, UNITED STATES - MAY 28: Former player Carlos Bocanegra and United Atlanta President, Darren Eales pose during the International Friendly between Mexico and Paraguay at Georgia Dome on May 28, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Omar Vega/LatinContent/Getty Images)

Tampa, FL (November 14, 2017) – The United Soccer League and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer announced today that an Atlanta MLS 2 team will begin play in 2018. The club will play in Gwinnett, GA at Coolray Field, approximately 35 miles from Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

USL Expansion: Atlanta United USL Affiliate to Start in 2018

Collray Field is home to the Gwinnett Braves of the International League, affiliates with the Atlanta Braves of MLB. The stadium will have a soccer match capacity 10,427.

“Atlanta United’s organization has quickly proven itself among the leaders in Major League Soccer, and we are delighted to welcome them to our world-class ownership groups that make up the USL. The caliber of organization that has been assembled by Arthur Blank and his team has raised the bar for professional soccer in the United States, and their addition to our league is another step toward the USL’s goal of becoming one of the best Division II professional soccer leagues in the world, on par with the English Championship, Liga Adelante and 2. Bundesliga,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis.

Atlanta has already started an Academy system and had multiple players on load at Charleston Battery in 2017.

“This is a great opportunity for our club’s long-term success to be able to bridge the gap between our best in class academy and our First Team. Establishing a top-level Academy was the first priority for our club, and while our staff has done a marvelous job in identifying and developing young players, the next step has always been to create the pathway for the 18-to-19-year-old player who needs to continue his development before competing for a starting position at the MLS level. We’ll now have the capability to develop players in our system from the time they’re 12 years-old until the minute they reach the First Team,” Atlanta United President Darren Eales said.

“The Gwinnett Sports Commission is extremely excited to have Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United organization, via the USL, join our existing professional sports franchises in Gwinnett. Obviously, AMB Sports & Entertainment brings a level of professionalism and credibility that is second to none in the professional sports arena. Gwinnett has long been a soccer stronghold, and we expect great success as the USL and professional soccer is introduced to our area and our fans. Coolray Field and its great staff enjoys a reputation of excellence among sports venues across the country and it will provide an excellent and fitting backdrop to this new team,” GSC Executive Director Stan Hall said.

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