CFC Celebrating Ten Years of Soccer in Chattanooga
Chattanooga-(WDEF-TV) The CFC has now been apart of the Scenic City for ten years.
Sheldon Grizzle was one of the team’s founders in 2009, and he has witnessed the soccer club’s tremendous success.
Playing for a national title in just its second season, drawing record crowds, hosting MLS and U.S. national teams, to moving into the professional ranks this season.
It’s hard to condense ten years of history into two minutes, but Grizzle gives it a go.
Reporter:”How many times did you hear. Oh you’re crazy. Soccer. An amateur soccer team in Chattanooga?”
Said Grizzle:”Everybody was just saying. It’s a football town. This is SEC country. Soccer will never work here. Yeah getting Finley was huge for us, and it’s still huge for us. At that time, especially in this level of soccer, most of the teams we saw and that we were playing against were playing in high school facilities or local recreation fields. Our very first game in the middle of a thunderstorm. There was an hour delay. We didn’t expect anybody to show up during the game, and we had 1,600 people in the stands. Yeah there have been several occassions we actually had more people show up to the game than we had tickets printed. To show you how far we’ve come. I was actually a player in the first game. The second season we started out with a friendly against FC Atlas’ youth team. We had over 6,000 people show up to that game. I think it was the first time we thought maybe we are really on to something here.”
Reporter:”Talk to me about the Chattahooligans.”
Said Grizzle:”A guy named Bill Bolen e-mailed me out of nowhere and just said hey, heard you guys are starting this team. Me and some friends are from cities that have MLS teams, and we’ve always been apart of soccer supporter clubs in those cities, and we’d love to start an official supporter’s club for CFC. At the same time, we had ‘El Conductor’ just literally show up dressed up as a superhero for our very first game in a conductor outfit with a cowbell. And over the first few games, they kind of merged those things together, and that was the original beginning of the Chattahooligans. People who have been fans for a long time to actually own part of the club. There are Chattanoogans all over the world that now own part of the club. I think we are in over 23 countries now and all 50 states.”
We never expected to create what we have created, and we didn’t expect the rest of the country to show up and try to follow our model. The Chattanooga soccer way.”