Posts Tagged ‘ Chattanooga FC ’

Soccer Trips 2017

2017 promises to be another great year for American soccer, and this year is particularly special because Atlanta United kicks off their first ever MLS campaign. But soccer happens all over this country at all levels and my goal each year is touch base at each level.

This year began with Atlanta United friendlies. First up was the quick drive up to Chattanooga for the game against Chattanooga FC. The Chattahooligans were great hosts, providing space at First Tennessee Pavilion and a huge breakfast buffet spread. Besides getting to meet fans from Atlanta and Chattanooga, I ran into Dennis Crowley, founder of Kingston Stockade FC of the NPSL. He came in from New York to check out the scene and we had a quick chat. Read my recap for Terminus Legion.

The following weekend was the opening match of the Carolina Challenge Cup. Atlanta United fans descended on Charleston to watch the Five Stripes face off against Columbus Crew SC. All four Atlanta United Supporter Groups did a shared tailgate, which was awesome. Returning to Charleston was great as well as the housing at Camp Cheek.  Read my recap for Terminus Legion and listen to my interviews with Atlanta United fans on the Terminus Legion podcast.

I went to the first ever Atlanta United game. The club kicked off at Bobby Dodd Stadium and it was awesome evening. Tailgate, march, tifo, great match. As a season ticket holder, I’m looking forward to the rest of the season. Here’s the Terminus Legion podcast from the tailgate.

 

Here is my proposed schedule for the rest of 2017.

  • May 31 Savannah Clovers at Georgia Revolution. NPSL
  • July 3 Nashville Soccer Club at Peachtree City MOBA. PDL
  • August 6 Atlanta United at Sporting Kansas City. MLS
  • September 15 Bethlehem Steel FC at Louisville City FC. USL
  • September 16 New York Red Bulls II at Cincinnati FC. USL

Here are some of my previous trips.

You want to join me on a road trip? Comment below or hit me up on twitter @austinlong1974.

And check out Steven Bernasconi’s project, The Soccer Tour. He has put together an amazing 2017 and can’t wait to learn more about his adventures.

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Scarf Collection

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I’ve become a groundhopper, not to the extent of Paul Gerald or Peter Miles or Tony Incenzo, but I take pics, talk to people and write posts about teams, supporters and venues in the United States. But what about swag? As a big kit nerd, the obvious choice would be to get a shirt at each match, but that strategy has a couple of problems: 1) not every team has a merch store or even jerseys for sale; 2) at $55 to $100 a pop, a one stop/one shirt policy could get pricey; and 3) where would I put them all? I don’t have a mancave (yet) and as much as I would love to wear a different jersey every day, society and my workplace frown upon that.

So my solution has been to pick up a scarf at each game I attend. This strategy has paid off in several ways. Scarves are almost always available at games, and if not, readily available on club websites. Plus at $25 to $35 each, this is the better option financially. On top of that, scarves are packable and easy to display.

Here is my current collection:

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Favorite Teams

Manchester United–The club team I have been supporting for 20 years. One day I will make it to Old Trafford. C’mon you Reds!!

US Soccer–I have seen several US games over the years , and I continuing to engage my own country instead of wishing I was Croatian or Dutch or almost anything else.

Atlanta United–MLS club kicking off in 2017. I’m a season ticket holder and can’t wait for the team to launch and play their first game at Mercedes Benz Stadium.

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Groundhops

Seattle Sounders–One of my first trips and had an awesome time.

Chicago Fire–Used to watch them at Soldier Field. Saw the new home out in the middle of nowhere.

Portland TimbersStood with Timbers Army in a very unique environment.

Columbus CrewSaw one of the first games at this Soccer Specific Stadium and have been several times since.

FC DallasAnother facility out in the middle of nowhere but Dallas Beer Guardians more than made up for it.

DC UnitedGot to see DC United at RFK before they move to the new ground.

Houston DynamoAmazing venue and hopefully the team returns it past glory.

Atlanta Silverbacks–Former NASL team playing in NPSL, I have been to many games and worked for the Reserves team.

Charleston Battery–Fantastic USL team with great supporters playing an intimate venue filled with soccer memorabilia.

Lansing United–The club launched the summer before I left Lansing and is doing things right on and off the pitch.

Detroit City FC–My first taste of real supporter culture. It has been wonderful keeping an eye on this team from the first days.

Nashville FC–Vanderbilt Stadium wasn’t the greatest venue but wonderful fans.

Chattanooga FC–Love going up to Chattanooga. Real passion behind a successful NPSL club.

Birmingham Hammers–Met some fired up supporters for the Hammers’ first season. Looking forward to going back.

Georgia Revolution–Under new ownership, this club is providing players a stepping stone to next level.

Knoxville Force (Scruffy City Syndicate)–Growing club with ardent supporters, playing right in downtown Knoxville.

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Miscellaneous

Juventus–Fell in love with Alessandro Del Piero and followed the bianconeri until I decided to focus my soccer supporting efforts.

MSU Spartans–Went to many a game at DeMartin Stadium during my time in Lansing.

World Cup 2022–My wife won this in a raffle. It’s the scarf from the US 2022 World Cup bid.

American Outlaws Atlanta. I love hanging out with these passionate supporters of US Soccer.

Terminus Legion 2015–Joined this Supporter Group at the intersection of Atlanta and Soccer in 2015 after moving to Atlanta in 2014.

Terminus Legion 2016–Re-upped and run the soccer team and host the Terminus Legion podcast.

The General–Special edition summer scarf produced by Terminus Legion to celebrate the history of Atlanta.

Soccer in the Streets–An amazing organization that brings soccer to underserved youth in Atlanta. Just launched Station Soccer, a pitch on top of a transit station.

Castleberry Hill AC–An organization looking to use soccer to improve their community. Currently trying to build Old Trenholm in the shadow of Mercedes Benz Stadium.

 

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Top three scarves I have come across. . .

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I usually buy the team scarf at each match but when I was at the Chicago Fire tailgate, I saw people walking around this scarf and knew that I had to have it. The scarf tweaks the Chicago city flag, using navy blue bands to frame the edges instead of the sky blue and then uses the four red stars through the middle. Great looking piece.

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While standing with Timbers Army, I spotted a Battlestar Portlandia. Having just come out of my Battlestar Galactica geek phase, I really loved the merging of pop culture and sport. Doubt I will ever get my hands but one of these but a really slick design.

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A scarf from Detroit City FC’s inaugural season is one of my favorite scarves. All the design elements come together, with of color scheme of rouge and dark yellow, a clean font and the argyle print adding a wonderful touch. DCFC has absolutely crushed it from a brand and merch perspective from day one.

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If you want to see a real scarf collection, visit Kenny’s Football Scarves. He has over 2000 pieces organized by league and region.

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Read more about my groundhops and supporter group interactions at the SoccerNomad blog. Also check out the SoccerNomad podcast, which focuses on Supporter Groups and kit design. Finally follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

Summer of Soccer

Another busy, wonderful, hot summer is in the books. 2016 truly was the summer of soccer with Copa America Centenario, Euro 2016, and the Olympics, plus all the levels of US Soccer in season. Here’s a quick look back at my summer.

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(photo courtesy of Forrest Collins)

May saw me check another team off of the list. I headed to Birmingham to see the Hammers first ever NPSL home game. They hosted Chattanooga FC and fell 1-0, but something special is in place both for the team and the supporters group Magic City Brigade.

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(photo courtesy of Atlanta Manchester United Supporters)

The following weekend was exhausting as I watched the FA Cup Final at Fado Midtown with the Atlanta Manchester United Supporters and Crystal Palace ATL. An amazing crowd and a thrilling victory for the Reds. Voice gone, memories made.

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(photo courtesy of Soccer in the Streets)

The next day was the Atlanta Champions League, a fundraiser for Soccer in the Streets. I played with Madridistas ATL and while the results didn’t go our way, we had a great day.

The month wrapped up with the Champions League Final, which I watched downtown at Bottle Rocket with my friends from Castleberry Hill. Real Madrid secured Una Decima on penalties with CR7 sealing the victory.

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Started June by taking in another NPSL games. Larry and I headed to Knoxville for the Force against Nashville FC. A spectacular goal won the three points for the hosts and earned them a Volunteers Shield win as well. Despite the weather, we had a great time and met some great people.

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(photo of Alex Quispe)

Big tournaments on two continents kicked off, with the United States hosting Copa America Centenario and France welcoming Euro 2016. Work got in the way and I tried to catch as much as I could. Besides watching the summer tournaments at home, I was able to catch games at Rose and Crown and even got to watch Germany v Italy at Der Biergarten with Mia San ATL. I watched the final of both competitions at Fado Buckhead with hundreds of soccer fans.

With the Euros and Copa America in full swing, Erin and I joined Terminus Legion at Wild Heaven Brewery and then went to the Georgia Revolution/Knoxville Force friendly in Conyers. It was a full day of beer, Panini sticker albums, fellowship and footy.

Saw the Revolution again the following weekend against the Atlanta Silverbacks at Silverbacks Park. The Silverbacks won the game and eventually made it all the way to the Regional Semi Finals before losing to Miami FC.

I celebrated five years of the SoccerNomad blog in July. Hard to believe it’s been that long. The blog has seen several changes in terms of frequency and topics but two topics are always on tap: memories and kits.

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(photo courtesy of Lariana Michelle Photography)

Towards the end of the month, I was lucky enough to be part of the organizing committee for the first ever #ATLSoccerCon. This event brought together soccer fans from around Atlanta andthem  a chance to look at kits, play Subbuteo and hang out. The afternoon was highlighted by a Meet and Greet with the US Paralympic National Team. Photos here.

The month ended with the MLS All Star game in San Jose. Terminus Legion got together at Rose and Crown to watch the Gunners defeat the best of MLS 2-1.

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August saw the Terminus Legion soccer team win their first ever playoff game in the Sons of Pitches Sunday Supporters League. We defeated LFC Atlanta in the quarter finals after a penalty shootout. Unfortunately we lost in the next round but another great session for the team. Later that month, European soccer started back up and I watched the Community Shield with the Manchester United Supporters of Atlanta the Brewhouse.

A great summer of footy action and looking forward to another great season. Have a couple of trips in the works so look for posts on those.

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Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

Hammer Down

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(Pic courtesy of Magic City Brigade)

Imagine. Imagine your first event. Imagine hosting a notable guest. Imagine a perfect night.

For the Birmingham Hammers Saturday night was another step in their journey to bring professional soccer to the Magic City. The club was founded in 2013 and after playing friendlies over the last couple of years, the club was accepted into the National Premier Soccer League, and is part of the Southeast Conference along with Chattanooga FC, Memphis City FC, Nashville FC, Knoxville Force and New Orleans Jesters.

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May 14, 2016 was their first ever NPSL game and the Hammers hosted Chattanooga FC. CFC is one of the most successful teams in the NPSL, consistently challenging for conference and league titles. On top of that, they are supported by the Chattahooligans, a group that has gained a reputation for vocal, entertaining and passionate support and must be seen to be believed.

I touched based with the Magic City Brigade, the supporters group of the Hammers, in the days leading up to the match and got the low down on the group and the tailgate. My wife and I made our way to Sicard Hollow Athletic Complex, which is a really nice facility but not the easiest to find. Tucked away in a corner of Vestavia Hills, make sure you bring your map app/device on your trip.

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The complex is quite nice with several pro turf fields. Fans are allowed to sit on a hill behind one of the goals, which is further supplemented by a walkway so that fans can stand and watch the game from a higher vantage point. Most fans sat in the stands along one side of the field and were filled with fans of all ages and bracketed by the two supporters groups. A stand alone press box allows the media an excellent view of everything and being relatively close to the action.

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(Pic courtesy of Forrest Collins)

Forrest Collins, founder and President of MCB, introduced himself once we arrived. After trading scarves, we had a quick chat ahead of the match. Everyone made their way to the field and MCB was in fine voice. Several of their number lead the cheers along with drums and a cowbell.  Small in number, they make up for it in noise and enthusiasm.

As for the match itself, Chattanooga really showed their experience. CFC took advantage of a corner midway through the first half to go up 1-0 and that’s all they needed. Hartley was rarely challenged goal as the Hammers had a difficult time finding much success in the final third. Birmingham certainly has some weapons and I thought #7 Karl Chester and #17 Kevin Francis could cause problems for future opponents. CFC were well organized and very clear and how they wanted to attack and consistently got into good positions but the Hammers’ rearguard held firm.

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In the end, the Hammers did not get the perfect ending but gave a good account of themselves and look to have a solid foundation from which to build.

Additional Resources

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Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

Top Ten Posts of 2015

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2015 was another great year for the SoccerNomad blog.  Visitors from all over the world read about kits, memories and more.  Here are the ten most read posts from 2015. Thanks to everyone for visiting, sharing and commenting on the blog and it’s on to 2016.

10   Nigeria Home 2002-2004

9     Summer 2015–Chattanooga FC v Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves

8     MatchDay Memory–History of ATL Soccer

7     EPL Kit Preview 15/16

6     Solutions

5     Strip Club–Half and Half Edition (FC Barcelona Home 97/98)

4     Not Inverting the Pyramid

3     A Call to Action

2     Summer 2015–NPSL Final

1     Atlanta United Supporter Experience

 

Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974 and don’t forget to listen to the SoccerNomad podcast or subscribe via iTunes.

Summer 2015–NPSL Final

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With the NPSL National Championship in my back yard, I had to check it out, so I made the short trip from Atlanta to the Scenic City, and during the drive I listened to the Bar Down Podcast with special guest El Conductor of the Chattahooligans. Their recap of each team’s road to the Final mentioned some interesting pieces of trivia—the Southern Champ has made the Final and won the last two times during odd years (Chattanooga was the South Champ and 2015 is an odd year) and the team hosting the Final has not lost in almost 10 years. But what really caught my attention was the fact that they were expecting a crowd between 15,000 and 20,000.

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I arrived at Finley Stadium about 90 minutes before kickoff. After buying my ticket I wandered through the First Tennessee Pavilion to get a sense of the Chattahooligans tailgate. I complemented a fan wearing a Galatasaray jersey and he said, “Have you seen hers?” Turn around and there is a woman wearing a Fener shirt. “Are you too allowed to be this close?” I asked. “We’re married,” she replied.

From there, my walk took me around the stadium to the Southside Social. I was just looking for a beer and I wandered into a soccer themed Big Lebowski universe. Besides bowling, there was Ping Pong and billiards and corn hole and almost everyone was wearing Chattanooga FC gear or a replica shirt of their favorite team. Crazy.

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By the time I got into the stadium, got a beer and checked things out, the seats were filling up quickly. The venue opened up the south stand, and as the starting lineups were announced, the crowd dwarfed anything I could have imagined. I figured the match would start with the home team on the front foot, fueled by the crowd. Wrong. The Cosmos B squad were composed, slick and ready for the challenge. Their possession did not turn into goal scoring threats but they were not overawed by the occasion. CFC kept the visitors at arm’s length and squandered two chances in the first half that would haunt them the rest of the night. Just before the interval, a scramble resulting from a free kick led to the opening goal for Cosmos B.

 

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The second half started with the hosts looking for an equalizer, which came midway through the second period. Coach Bill Elliott turned to substitute Hernandez who provided energy for CFC. That set the stage for extra time and Ibrahim Diaby scored just seconds into the first overtime period. Silence in the stadium. The visitors then added another goal and it was 3-1 heading into the last 15 minutes. Chattanooga pulled one back, then hit the post minutes later. With one minute of added time Hartley thumped the ball 60 yards, which led to a flick on, which saw a CFC forward bear down on the keeper, but the shot was parried to the side and that was it.

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A beautiful night for soccer. Great crowd (announced crowd of 18,227), the Chattahooligans were in fine voice, and the teams provided a wonderful spectacle. All credit to the organizations of both teams and the league. Long may this continue.

Match recap via NPSL website

NPSL Final video

NPSL Final Photo Album

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Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

Summer 2015–Chattanooga FC v Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves

My son Larry and I travelled to Chattanooga, TN for the NPSL Southeast Conference Final between the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves and Chattanooga FC. The teams had split the regular season meetings, with both teams winning away, and after big wins in the Semi-Finals against Georgia Revolution and Nashville FC respectively, the Final was set.

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Chattanooga FC, founded in 2009, have had a lot of success over the last couple of years.

Year Division League Regular Season Playoffs Open Cup
2009 4th Tier NPSL 3rd, Southeast Did not qualify Did not enter
2010 4th Tier NPSL 1st, Southeast NPSL Runners-Up Did not enter
2011 4th Tier NPSL 3rd, Southeast Did not qualify 1st Round
2012 4th Tier NPSL 1st, Southeast, West NPSL Runners-Up Did not enter
2013 4th Tier NPSL 1st, Southeast Regional Final 1st Round
2014 4th Tier NPSL 1st, Southeast NPSL Runners-Up 3rd Round
2015 4th Tier NPSL 1st, Southeast In Progress 3rd Round

The Reserves, originally formed as Atlanta FC, have had two solid seasons since coming back from hiatus for the 2014 season.

Year Division League Regular Season Playoffs Open Cup
2008 4 NPSL 1st, Southeast Divisional Round Did not qualify
2009 4 NPSL 2nd, Southeast Did not qualify 1st Round
2010 4 NPSL 5th, Southeast Did not qualify Did not qualify
2011 4 NPSL 4th, Southeast Did not qualify Did not qualify
2012 4 NPSL 2nd, South-Southeast-East Did not qualify Did not qualify
2013 On hiatus
2014 4 NPSL 2nd, Southeast Divisional Round Did not qualify
2015 4 NPSL 2nd, Southeast Conference Final Did not qualify

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The match started at a high intensity as both teams looked to gain an advantage. Chris Ochieng caused a lot of problems for the Reserves while the front line of Massiah, Cruz and Duarte kept the Chattanooga defenders on their toes. Challenges came thick and fast and the referee tried to maintain control of the match.

The Reserves fell behind 1-0 in the first half as a ball over the top was chased down by Luke Winter and looped over the visiting goalkeeper Xaiver Audergon. The hosts kept up the pressure and nearly added a second while the Silverbacks nearly scored through Riley Sumpter.

The second half started with the same 22 players as the visitors attacked from wide positions and kept Chattanooga pinned back. Three substitutions were made by the Reserves at the hour mark as they searched for an equalizer. Chattanooga defended well and started to get more opportunities on the counter attack.

The hosts sealed the game with a quarter of an hour remaining, winning and converting a penalty. The Reserves continued to pour forward and gave up a third goal late in the match. Chattanooga FC will now play Miami Fusion for a chance to advance to the Southeast Regional Final.

A crowd of over 3300 was on hand, with the Chattahooligans in fine voice. The supporters meet in a pavilion across the street from the stadium and then march in just ahead of the match. The group, which sits behind the visiting bench, is quite a presence, supporting their team with a sustained series of songs and chants.

Finley Stadium, home of the University of Chattanooga, has train tracks in the distance and is just outside the historic Southside District. Easy to get to, this facility provides a great venue for soccer. The surface was in good shape and the locker room facilities were quite nice, especially for this level. The club leaves the opposite stand closed to pack the fans in the main stand, which made for a much better atmosphere. There was a real sense of community around the place and provided a wonderful evening of soccer.

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Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.