Sounders unveil plans for training facility to open in ’24

RENTON, Wash. — The Seattle Sounders announced plans on Wednesday for a new headquarters and training facility that could also be used as a practice facility for the 2026 World Cup.

The facility will include at least four training fields and 50,000 square feet of space for the club’s soccer and front office operations, the first time both entities have been in the same location since the debut of the team in 2009.

“We are thrilled to plant our flag on this site for the next generation of Sounders staff, players, coaches and fans because ultimately this is a facility for our fans,” Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer said.

The project is expected to be completed in time for the start of the 2024 season, which also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Sounders in the old NASL. Along with the training facility, the Sounders announced a two-year plan to evaluate the club’s current standing heading into the 50th anniversary season.

“From our club’s perspective, the next 50 years of Sounders history start right now,” said Peter Tomozawa, Sounders president of business operations. “Our new home ... gives us a generational opportunity to not only invest in the organization by developing the most advanced facilities for our players and operations, but also to deepen our roots and engage with the community in meaningful and new ways.”

Seattle’s new training facility will be located near its current facility at the Starfire Sports Complex. But the Sounders shared space at Starfire and the new facility will be dedicated specifically to the team’s needs. The facility will have at least two natural grass and two artificial turf practice fields, with the possibility for a fifth field, Hanauer said. The team will renovate more than 40,000 square feet of a building that was once part of the Boeing headquarters.

It will also unite the entire franchise in one working location. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sounders had their business operations in downtown Seattle.

Hanauer declined to give the cost of the Sounders’ investment in the project but said it was in the “tens of millions of dollars to do a project like this.” The process of looking for a new training facility started about three years ago but was delayed by the pandemic.

The new facility may also help strengthen Seattle’s bid to host games during the 2026 World Cup, which will be contested in Canada, Mexico and the United States. During previous international events held in Seattle, teams have used facilities at the University of Washington, Seattle University and the Seattle Seahawks headquarters as practice locations.

Hanauer said FIFA officials were shown the property and plans for the training facility during their site visit to Seattle last fall. Host cities for the event are expected to be announced sometime this spring.

“We brought them on a stealth tour of the facility. So they have seen the plans, they know that this could potentially be a training facility,” Hanauer said.