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Decatur resident launching semi-pro women’s soccer team in Decatur

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Decatur resident launching semi-pro women’s soccer team in Decatur

Gareth O'Sullivan is the owner of Decatur FC. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

This story has been updated. 

Decatur, GA — A semi-pro women’s soccer team is coming to Decatur this spring. Decatur FC, owned by resident and business owner Gareth O’Sullivan, will kick off its inaugural season on May 24 at Decatur High School.

The team will be competing in the Women’s Premier Soccer League and will play eight games in its regular season, plus potential playoff games. The season will run from May to July, and Decatur FC will play five home games at Decatur High School.

The coaching staff is currently holding tryouts and will announce players in the coming weeks. O’Sullivan said he has 14 players signed so far and is aiming to build a roster of 25 players. Campbell Chapman, a fellow Decatur resident, will be the head coach.

“I’m involved in the soccer community here in Atlanta,” O’Sullivan, principal of the ownership group, said. “I’ve always felt that the city of Decatur, specifically the proximity of Decatur High School, could be a cool set up for any type of team. When the opportunity arose to get a franchise in the WPSL, I decided to go ahead and do that and then piece together the next part of the puzzle, which was location.”

With numerous soccer clubs nearby and the various soccer events coming to the Atlanta area, Decatur provides an opportunity to showcase women’s soccer.

“There are quite a few teams in the metro Atlanta area on the men’s side, but this will be pretty much the only [women’s] team inside the perimeter and this side of town, so I think it’ll be a lot of fun for us providing the avenue to current college players and former college players that want to be a part of the league,” O’Sullivan said.

O’Sullivan grew up playing soccer in Ireland and played collegiate soccer in Tennessee. He played professionally in Europe as well and has coached for several years. O’Sullivan previously coached the Atlanta Beat, which competed in the Women’s United Soccer Association, in 2009.

In the early 2010s, the Atlanta Beat almost also created a WPSL team for the reserve players, so O’Sullivan is familiar with the league.

“It’s going to take us a while to build it,” O’Sullivan said. “Year one, we wanted to get it out there, get it going, get a competitive team on the field. For next year and going forward, we want to try to build a top, top team.”

As for next steps in the process, the team is working on getting its personnel in place and then will begin promoting the team ahead of the beginning of the season.

“We’re in the process of going from 15 miles per hour to about 90 miles an hour in our prep for the season,” O’Sullivan said.

Decatur FC will play in the Southeast Conference of the WPSL against teams from Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. The other Georgia teams are Atlanta Fire United based in South Forsyth, Georgia Impact in Canton and UFA Gunners in Cumming, which are affiliated with local soccer clubs.

O’Sullivan and his team aren’t affiliated with one particular club and are hoping to engage with all the youth soccer clubs in the area. He wants this to be a community based team.

“I think it could be a unique thing for the city of Decatur, and we’re hopeful that people will come out and support it,” O’Sullivan said. “That’s why we called it Decatur FC, because we want to showcase Decatur.”

Attendees will have to purchase tickets to attend the games. There will be concessions at the high school and the games will be livestreamed on Decatur FC’s website.

“I’m excited to see how competitive we can be year one and to see how that goes,” O’Sullivan said. “We want to create an environment where word gets out that we have a professional outlook about how we treat the girls and how we play, and we want the word to get out that this is a cool franchise to play for, so come 2025 we want to be fighting people away that want to come play for us.”

Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett, a big soccer fan and Atlanta United season ticket holder, is excited to see Decatur FC come to town.

A lot of soccer activity is happening in Georgia and metro Atlanta with the She Believes Cup, Copa América matches, the 2026 Men’s World Cup and the U.S. Soccer headquarters moving to Fayette County. With all the soccer happenings, “it is fitting that we in Decatur have yet another chance to see women’s soccer blossom beyond the youth leagues, school and college soccer,” Garrett said.

“We will be hosting teams from around the southeast and the rest of the state,” she added. “Once the schedule is established, we will absolutely make sure that visitors to Decatur feel welcome, and we look forward to showing off everything Decatur has to offer. Kudos to those who are making this happen.”

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