Crew to face two MLS teams in Atlanta

Black & Gold will face New England Revolution and Houston Dynamo, respectively, in preseason ex

The Crew will take part in the first-ever Atlanta Pro Soccer Challenge as the centerpiece of a preseason trip to Atlanta March 5-12. The Atlanta Beat of Women’s Professional Soccer are presenting the event on March 9, 11, and 13, at the Kennesaw State University Soccer Stadium, featuring the Houston Dynamo and New England Revolution of Major League Soccer. 

The Atlanta Pro Soccer Challenge is an opportunity for soccer fans in the region to see MLS clubs playing for the first time in the Atlanta area.  Each team will play two games over three days, with the Crew facing New England on March 9 and Houston on March 11. The Crew and Revs will also meet prior to the challenge, on March 6 at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The tournament organizer is T. Fitz Johnson, owner of the Atlanta Beat which played the opening match at Kennesaw State University Soccer Stadium on Sunday, May 9, 2010.

“Atlanta has shown strong support for soccer events throughout the city,” said Johnson. “This is a great opportunity to see if an MLS franchise will be a good fit for the market as we host the tournament in our brand-new soccer-specific facility.”

Atlanta’s tourism and sports leaders have voiced their support for the tournament and are anticipating soccer fans from throughout the Southeast to be excited about the opportunity to see professional men’s soccer in the region.

“Professional sports events are an important draw for the more than 34 million people who visit Atlanta each year,” said William Pate, president and CEO, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Hosting a tournament for MLS teams is the starting point to filling a void in Atlanta’s current roster of professional teams and to eventually bringing the most watched sport in the world to our city.”

Atlanta has a long soccer history, including the Chiefs bringing home the city’s first professional championship in 1968, several recent friendly matches held at the Georgia Dome and the Atlanta Beat’s 2010 inaugural season in the new soccer-specific stadium at KSU.

“Atlanta has proven that, when given the opportunity, it can host a magnificent soccer event,” said Dan Corso, executive director, Atlanta Sports Council. “There is tremendous corporate support that believes strongly in supporting soccer, and metro Atlanta proudly boasts some of the most passionate soccer fans around.  We look forward to hosting these three MLS clubs and know that our city will rally in support.”

Atlanta CEOs and executives passionate about bringing soccer to Atlanta recently began meeting as the CEO Soccer Cabinet. Jeffrey Bowman, CEO of Crawford and Company, serves as the chairman for the group. 

Said Bowman, “If Atlanta is to be all we want it to be, we need to find our spot as a global participant in soccer. We will need an MLS team to do that.  It is great to have this chance to show MLS that Atlanta will be a great city for its future.”