Atlanta has been awarded Major League Soccer’s 22nd team, the culmination of six years of courtship. The announcement was made by MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “We are thrilled to welcome Atlanta to Major League Soccer as our 22nd team,” Garber said. “Atlanta is one of the largest and most diverse markets in North America and has a rich tradition in sports and culture.”
The expansion team—which will begin play in the 2017 season—will be owned by Arthur Blank, co-founder of The Home Depot and the owner of the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons. “We are very excited to bring a Major League Soccer team to Atlanta,” Blank said. “We are going to build a first-class organization on and off the field that will be a source of pride for the entire community, and we believe our downtown stadium will become a destination for soccer fans throughout the Southeast for many years to come.”
The Atlanta team’s name and logo, along with the coaching and administrative staff, will be announced at a later date. A retractable roof stadium in downtown Atlanta will house both the Falcons and the new MLS franchise, and is expected to accommodate more than 29,000 fans for soccer matches upon its completion.