New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced Wednesday that Atlanta has been awarded the league's 22nd team.
The expansion side, owned by Arthur Blank, will begin play in the 2017 season and will play in a state-of-the-art retractable roof stadium to be shared with the Atlanta Falcons, also owned by Blank.
"We are thrilled to welcome Atlanta to Major League Soccer as our 22nd team," Garber said in a statement. "Atlanta is one of the largest and most diverse markets in North America and has a rich tradition in sports and culture.
"And with Arthur Blank joining our ownership group, we are adding one of the most respected owners in professional sports. Arthur is deeply passionate about soccer and our quest to become one of the top professional soccer leagues in the world. We look forward to working with him and the entire Falcons organization on achieving this important goal."
Atlanta team's name and logo, along with the coaching and administrative staff, will be announced at a later date. Fans will be asked to provide their suggestions for the team name.
The Atlanta appointment marks the third expansion announcement for MLS in the past year. New York City FC and Orlando City SC will join MLS in 2015, and a Miami franchise, to be owned by a group headed by David Beckham, is also expected to be added to the league in the near future, with club officials expecting to join Atlanta in their 2017 debut.