Leading up to the club’s debut, Atlanta United FC is making plans for how its Gwinnett County, GA USL squad will play at Coolray Field.
Earlier this week, Atlanta United FC confirmed that it will own and operate a new USL club that will begin play at Coolray Field in 2018. The 10,427-capacity Coolray Field opened as a Minor League Baseball facility in 2009 for the International League’s Gwinnett Braves (its name for now; the team is slated to undergo a name change this offseason), who will share the ballpark with the new USL squad.
A key part of the planning process will be ensuring that an adequate pitch can be installed at Coolray Field, and that the necessary work can take place to transition the facility from sport to sport. Atlanta United FC has disclosed some details on how soccer will be played at Coolray Field, including the configuration of the pitch. More from The Gwinnett Daily Post:
As for the soccer field, which is 110 yards long and 70 yards wide, it will feature one goal along what is typically baseball’s first-base line. The other goal will be in front of baseball’s left-field wall.
One corner of the field will sit at baseball’s home plate, leaving the unused portion of the baseball surface in right field. The location puts the field closest to stadium’s fan seating. Baseball’s infield dirt surface will occupy the corner of the soccer field nearest the fans.
The shared playing surface will be a challenge for the Triple-A baseball team’s grounds crew because the seasons overlap. The USL regular season typically runs from late March to mid-October. This year it began March 25 and continued through Oct. 15, finishing up this past Monday with the league championship game. The International League baseball regular season begins April 6 and ends Sept. 3.
Details on the USL club’s branding are expected to be announced at a later date. The new United FC USL club is one of five teams joining the league for 2018, along with Fresno FC, Las Vegas Lights FC, Nashville SC, and North Carolina FC. Out of those clubs, all but one–North Carolina FC, which is shifting over from the NASL–will play its home matches at existing Minor League Baseball facilities.
Image of USL action courtesy USL and Bethlehem Steel.
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