On April 18, Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Phil W. Hudson sat down with Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United Owner Arthur Blank and Atlanta United President Darren Eales at The Arthur M. Blank Family Office in Atlanta.
Atlanta Business Chronicle: Do you intend to sell naming rights of the training ground?
Darren Eales: Yes. It’s certainly something that we’ve had a lot of interest in terms of companies that wanted to be associated with this facility not only being home to the first team and our youth development, but also us being engaged with the community. That’s something we actively looking at and discussing with a number of companies at the moment.
ABC: Will Atlanta Untied have a clubhouse for its supporter clubs?
DE: The great thing we have is a blank sheet of paper so we can always develop things how we want to go. We designed this training ground to have a lot of flexible space. For example, the observation pavilion by the show pitch (field) is something that could be used for that type of event. We also have the dining room, which has views over the training ground. Our whole focus was to create lots of multi-use, flexible spaces that we can then activate with our fans, the community and our corporate sponsors however we want to. That’s one of the many things we’ll be looking at as we develop. We’ll take the best ideas we can from other clubs and run with it.
ABC: What attributes are you looking for in the club’s first head coach?
DE:(Laughs) There’s probably a list as long as your arm. But, some of the key things are: we need need to have someone who first and foremost is a top coach. Secondly, the have to be someone who believes in youth development. We want to have a coach that isn’t afraid to play young players. Thirdly, they have to be aware. I’d say this is one of the fundamental core attributes. Major League Soccer is a growing league and Atlanta is an expansion team so they have to be someone who 110 percent believes in MLS being a top league in the future and Atlanta being one of the top clubs. We don’t want someone who is seeing it as a stepping stone to another job. It has to be someone who is fully committed. You’ll notice I haven’t said MLS experience because we accept that if we take a coach who hasn’t had MLS experience, it will be a prerequisite that his assistant coach will be someone who has had great experience in the league. But at the moment, we have a clean sheet of paper and are looking at all coaches from all areas.