The Chattanooga Football Club is entering uncharted territory tonight when it makes its U.S. Open Cup debut against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Playing in the top American soccer tournament will be new to the third-year CFC and most of its players, but not all. Defender John Calderwood, a Scotland native who played at Shorter University, participated in the 2009 Cup as a member of another National Premier Soccer League club, Atlanta FC (now the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves).
"I had the experience - we played against the Charleston Battery - and it's a good occasion to be in," Calderwood said. "I'm just happy that we're back there."
Chattanooga FC earned a spot in the first round by winning the qualifying regional it hosted last month, edging Calderwood's old team 1-0 in overtime in the deciding game.
The Riverhounds play in the United Soccer Leagues Pro division and Calderwood is familiar with their coach, Justin Evans, and one of their players.
"I played at a professional combine two years ago down in Florida, and the Pittsburgh coach was analyzing me, and I met their goalkeeper down there also," he said.
Chattanooga FC has split its two NPSL Southeast Division games, both on the road, since qualifying for the Cup. It lost 1-0 at Jacksonville United FC and last Saturday got two goals from Michael Brooks in the final 10 minutes to beat Rocket City United 2-0. Brooks credited the moves and pass of Chris Ochieng for his tiebreaking score in the 83rd minute.
After tonight, CFC is back in action at Finley Stadium on Saturday at 7 p.m. against Rocket City.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.