Additional cities in Georgia and Utah are getting professional soccer teams.
Dalton, located in the northeast part of Georgia near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, will host a United Soccer League Two team in 2019, the league announced Friday. Additionally, Park City, Utah will also have a team for the upcoming season.
The yet-to-be-named clubs are the sixth and seventh to join USL League Two for the 2019 season. The Dalton team will be an affiliate of nearby Chattanooga Red Wolves SC, a founding member of USL League One.
USL League Two is an under-23 league and allows players to retain their college eligibility while also being able to train and compete at a high level when college play is not in season.
While Dalton and Park City are nearly 1,800 miles apart, they will share an owner in Bob Martino, who also owns the Chattanooga Red Wolves of USL League One.
“USL League Two defines the ‘Path 2 Pro,’” Martino said in a statement. “The transition from youth soccer to a professional career has been a route lacking a clear map, and having League Two teams connecting top youth on one side and professional soccer on the other provides a much-needed conduit.”
Dalton will compete in the Deep South Division, while Park City will play in the Mountain Division. Dalton’s club will split hosting home matches in 2019 between Chattanooga Christian School’s Stanton Field and a to-be-determined venue in Dalton. Chattanooga and Dalton are less than 32 miles apart.
In a news release announcing the arrival of the Park City team, a playing venue was not named. Both clubs will announce their logo, color scheme and further branding at a later date.
“Park City is a very special, aesthetically-inclined city,” Martino said. “The small town produces numerous Winter Olympics athletes and has always been a great soccer city. Top-level soccer players have come from Park City, and we are proud to be part of elevating the soccer experience with the ‘Path2Pro’ philosophy in the community.”
Among the many players to have competed in USL League Two before making their professional debuts include Werder Bremen’s Josh Sargent, Newcastle United FC defender DeAndre Yedlin, Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan and Columbus Crew forward Gyasi Zardes.
“We’re extremely excited to see the continued growth in the greater Dalton (and) Chattanooga communities,” USL League Two vice president Joel Nash said in a statement. “(Martino) has shown a true willingness to help develop soccer at all levels in the area, and we believe that great things will come from his latest endeavor in USL League Two.”