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Atlanta United building training facility in Cobb County

Atlanta United FC will play its second regular season Major League Soccer game Saturday at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium and tickets sold out two days in advance.

The new team will eventually play at the new Mercedes Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta, which opens later this summer.

But Atlanta United will soon call Marietta home, becoming the second major league team headquartered in Cobb County after the Atlanta Braves' recent move.

The Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground on Franklin Gateway is already getting some use. Players and coaches were on the main pitch Friday afternoon, after usually practicing at Atlanta Falcons team headquarters in Flowery Branch.

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The new state-of-the-art facility includes six fields and a 30,000 square foot building that should be completed in the next couple of weeks.

"(It's) really exciting," said Atlanta United President Darren Eales. "Also for the community. This is an area we can use for community use that will be good. Our fans can come and watch some of the open training sessions we're going to do."

The City of Marietta attracted the team after investing millions of dollars to begin redeveloping the troubled Franklin Road area. The process started with a name change to Franklin Gateway, and buying and leveling four out of 14 large apartment complexes along the stretch between Delk Road and South Marietta Parkway.

"We'd already planted the seed here, so when they looked here, the property was ready to go when they made their decision," said Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin.

The city is also building its own park with three new fields just down the road from Atlanta United's new training ground. Once complete, they'll work in tandem to attract soccer players, parents, and fans from around the state, region, even the world.

"We'll have tournaments that will be regional, countrywide, even international teams are going to come in," said Eales.

The mayor promised two to three major announcements in the near future concerning private investment in the area, of possible retail and/or hotels.

"There's a pride in this area where there wasn't three years ago," said Tumlin.

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