The Chattanooga Football Club will celebrate the Fourth of July by playing an exhibition game at Finley Stadium against an under-20 team from Mexico.
The U-20 squad of Club de Futbol Monterrey, one of the top teams in the Mexican Premier division, is making a three-game swing through Tennessee this summer, CFC board member Sheldon Grizzle said, and will play the Nashville Metros, the Knoxville Force and Chattanooga FC.
The Metros play in the United Soccer Leagues' Premier Development League, while Knoxville and CFC are members of the National Premier Soccer League. All three are amateur teams.
For Chattanooga FC, which opens its third season on May 7, it will be the second exhibition against a Mexican team in as many seasons. Last May, CFC beat the U-23 team from F.C. Atlas, of Guadalajara, in front of a crowd of 6,317.
"We set the precedent last year, so I think on some level our fans have come to expect a high-level game like that, outside of our season," CFC general manager Sean McDaniel said. "I think it's a reward, not just for our players but to our fans as well."
When CFC scheduled its game against Atlas a year ago, it had only about a month to promote it. Grizzle said having all of May and June to get the word out, especially in the Hispanic communities in and around Chattanooga, should make a big difference.
CFC board member Tim Kelly said connecting with those Hispanic communities is one area in which the club hopes to improve in its third season.
"It's been kind of one of our enduring frustrations, that we haven't had more success bringing them in," he said. "We're chipping away at it, and I think it's working."
Chattanooga FC will play an exhibition game against the Dalton Allstars at 4 p.m. Saturday. Last weekend, the Allstars earned the chance to play CFC by winning the inaugural Chattanooga FC Cup at Camp Jordan.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mocsbeatCTFP.