OPINION — A Winning Goal: The Community Benefits of Bringing the US Soccer Federation to Fayette County


By Niki Vanderslice, President/CEO

Fayette County Development Authority

OPINION — In the competitive world of soccer where every goal matters, the decision to relocate the national headquarters and build the first ever National Training Facility of the US Soccer Federation in Fayette County is a positive game-changer for our community.

Having served in various economic development roles in Georgia for over 20 years, I can easily say that the opportunity the US Soccer Federation’s National Training Center and Headquarters present will have a generational impact.

This strategic opportunity not only secures Fayette County’s status on the international pitch, but will create over 400 new jobs through a $228 million investment that will have immeasurable benefits for the local and regional community.

The influx of professionals, athletes, and soccer enthusiasts to the region will generate job opportunities and spur local businesses and tourism. Restaurants, hotels, and entertainment venues stand to gain significantly from increased foot traffic, thereby contributing to the county’s economic vitality.

The construction and maintenance of state-of-the-art facilities required for the national headquarters and training center will provide a substantial economic boost for local businesses involved in construction, landscaping, and infrastructure development. Fayette County’s business community as a whole will witness increased demand, creating a positive ripple effect throughout the local economy.

From recreational leagues to highly competitive clubs, Fayette County boasts ample opportunities for youth and adults alike to play this increasingly popular sport. While working to recruit US Soccer, I learned that we have over 6,000 active soccer participants in Fayette County. The US Soccer Federation plans to host various programs and events that will benefit our local leagues and clubs, and we are looking forward to their involvement and participation on many levels within our community.

The presence of the US Soccer Federation in Fayette County could create exciting educational opportunities for our schools and post-secondary education institutions through potential partnerships and collaborations, offering students unique insights into sports management, sports science, and related fields. This not only enhances educational offerings but also encourages a passion for soccer and sports in general among our children.

The decision to bring the US Soccer Federation to Fayette County is not just a sports headquarters relocation; it is a transformative step towards holistic community development. The economic and community benefits are bound to create a legacy that extends far beyond the soccer field, positioning Fayette County as a symbol for soccer excellence and community engagement.

Finally, I do not believe I could say it any better than one of our own, Kelley O’Hara, Fayetteville Native and USWNT Defender: “Growing up in Fayetteville, Georgia playing for our Youth National Teams and dreaming of playing for the full team, I never could have imagined that one day U.S. Soccer’s home would be so close to where I made so many childhood memories. My worlds are definitely colliding. It’s such a beautiful area with a great sense of community I can’t wait to welcome everyone from U.S. Soccer to Fayette County once the National Training Center is complete.”

[Niki Vanderslice is President/CEO of the Fayette County Development Authority, headquartered in Fayetteville, Ga.]