Atlanta United to start play at Bobby Dodd Stadium

Image, Atlantaunited.com

By RYAN BRISTER

Atlanta United will play their first home games in Major League Soccer at Bobby Dodd Stadium, following construction delays at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

The stadium being built for Atlanta United and the Atlanta Falcons isn’t expected to be completed until June 2017, which faced United with the possibility of a lengthy road trip to start their MLS existence. Using a temporary venue was seen as a better alternative.

Dodd Stadium has a capacity of 55,000 and, unlike Atlanta’s future home, a natural grass field. However, fitting a regulation-sized pitch into the 103-year-old venue may prove to be a tight squeeze.

“It was evident that playing at home for the first part of the season was in the best interest of our fans and our players,” said Darren Eales, club president.

Atlanta United has already set a record for season ticket holders for an expansion team in MLS, with 22,000 already.

Dodd Stadium is currently home to Georgia Institute of Technology football team. Its soccer experience is limited, but it did bid unsuccessfully to host games in Atlanta for the 1994 World Cup.

Atlanta will not be the only team playing at a college football stadium next year. Minnesota United will spend all of 2017 playing at TCF Bank Stadium, with their soccer-specific home opening in 2018.