Atlanta And Minnesota Making Strides Before Entering LeagueThough not having played in MLS yet, both Atlanta and Minnesota make progress on clubs
by Katherine Rupp | Wednesday, August 12, 2015
It’s the dog days of summer but that doesn’t mean that Major League Soccer is easing up by any means. U.S. Open Cup play will turn to the Final soon, Concacaf Champions League campaigns have started for most clubs, and regular season MLS games are starting to get a little more chippy and played with purpose. However much the play on the field is ramping up, it’s good to check on other teams from time to time and take a breather.
As most know Atlanta United FC – the new name of the Atlanta club that was officially announced in July of 2015 – will start play in MLS in 2017. Atlanta – being one of the largest TV markets in the country and often known as the center of the Southeast region – is a smart choice of a city to play host to one of the newest MLS franchises. And with around 20,000 season ticket pledged to be purchased, seems like Atlanta soccer fans have been waiting a long time for top shelf soccer in the area.
More recently, Atlanta has made strides in searching for where the training fields and facilities will be located. No papers have been signed (or at least, as of today, no announcement has been made), the area around DeKalb has been rumored to be the locale of the facilities. Regardless of where the training fields will be, Atlanta looks to be right on schedule with its team. Now the next thing that needs to happen is to have just that, a team. 2017 will be here before we know it.
Heading north, the Minneapolis/St. Paul bid is certainly an interesting one. With the Minneapolis soccer specific stadium location not settled upon during the legislative session, there’s now some contention and squabbling over whether Minneapolis should really be the home to the MLS team in Minnesota or if the team would be better suited in St. Paul, the city that seems more welcoming to the incoming club.
Currently, there is interest in a stadium being built near one of the larger highways – I-94 – in the Twin Cities, which is, interestingly enough, near a handful of colleges, as well as being a walkable distance to public transportation. And though the Minnesota MLS team will begin play in the league, more than likely in 2018, the stadium deal could make or break the level of excitement for the team before that opening whistle for the team.
Though the current MLS teams are in the thick of play with – many of them – playing in different tournaments or just in the regular season, keep in mind it’s good to keep future clubs in mind. And with the recent news and goings-on with Atlanta and Minnesota, things are looking up with both clubs even now, years before entering into the league.