published Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Chattanooga Football Club has biggest schedule yet

Chattanooga Football Club's John Carrier, right, scores on keeper Thomas Hunter during a July 2013 practice at Finley Stadium.
Chattanooga Football Club's John Carrier, right, scores on keeper Thomas Hunter during a July 2013 practice at Finley Stadium.
Photo by C. B. Schmelter.

With the National Premier Soccer League growing on a yearly basis, so is the schedule for the Chattanooga Football Club. CFC enters the 2014 season with its largest schedule to date -- and hopes there are a few more games yet to be added.

The team will start its sixth season on May 10 with a road date against the Georgia Revolution. The home opener in Finley Stadium is a week later against Nashville FC -- which is starting its first NPSL season -- and CFC general manager Sean McDaniel said the team will participate in the U.S. Open Cup for the third time.

The team has home-and-homes with Tennessee programs Nashville and Knoxville. Not counting any Open Cup matches, Chattanooga FC is scheduled to play 12 matches with six at home, including the final four of the regular season.

"We've been the pinnacle of the conference now," McDaniel said. "Everybody we play against brings their best against us."

The now 32-team South region has been broken down into four divisions of eight. The top four from each division will advance to the playoffs, which is different from years past in that there is no automatic bid into the playoffs. The winner gets a chance to play in the regional semifinals.

McDaniel noted that he expects to put a bid in to host the regional, even if Chattanooga FC isn't involved.

"This league has so good now. We've now started trying to find ways to diversify our fan base," McDaniel said.

"We want to average 5,000 fans this year."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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