CFC Continue to be a Crowd Pleaser at Finley Stadium
Chattanooga-(WDEF) When the CFC started up in 2009, team officials felt they could fill a void at Finley Stadium with their summer time matches. But filling a bunch of seats, that has been an added bonus. The Chattanooga FC are annually one of the biggest draws in the NPSL.
When the Chattanooga FC opened play in 2009, it did not take long to draw a crowd.
Said General Manager Sean McDaniel,"In the first year we knew we were on to something when we brought in Atlas from Mexico for an exhibition game, and we drew over 6,000 fans."
"Soccer for Finley has been a game-changer," said Finley Stadium Director Paul Smith.
He believes the CFC support is a reflection of the growth of the Southside of the City.
"Chattanooga has finally grown into Finley. I think when Finley was put here in the late, last century, the Southside wasn’t ready. But I think it has been the anchor and kind of pulled the Southside up."
And maybe fans are flocking to Finley because they feel a kinship with the CFC.
Said McDaniel,"The Chattanooga Football Club has become Chattanooga’s team. We’re outdrawing cities like Atlanta, like New York, and like Detroit."
Last summer, Chattanooga set an NPSL record drawing nearly 9,000 people to their playoff game against Sacramento.
Said Smith,"It sent shock waves through the amateur soccer league that hey, this town loves soccer. I think it was one of the game-changers to actually have landed this U.S. Women’s game."
Given the team’s success and crowd support, will the CFC move up to a bigger league?
Said McDaniel,"Honestly, we really enjoy what the NPSL gives us. That league is meeting our needs just fine. But we would be short-sighted if we didn’t consider what the next steps are. Will it draw more fans? What will it for the city? That’s really the benchmark."