Chattanooga FC coach Rod Underwood's debut a historic step for club

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Chattanooga Football Club coach Rod Underwood looks into the crowd at Finley Stadium before Saturday afternoon's soccer game against the Maryland Bobcats FC. It was the debut match for Underwood, the first Black head coach in the history of CFC, which was founded in 2009.

Saturday afternoon, Rod Underwood coached his first official match as the leader of the Chattanooga Football Club.

Behind him sat some of the players from the Chattanooga FC Academy, with a number of those kids Black or Hispanic.

Why does that matter? Because CFC is nestled right inside of Finley Stadium, which is conveniently located a matter of minutes away from some of the more urban areas of the city, there is a chance for growth.

Soccer is the world's game, and it's becoming more and more reflective in the coaching hires being made by clubs - purposely or not. That's no different in Chattanooga, where minorities lead the city's two professional clubs.

When he was hired in the offseason, Underwood became the first Black head coach in the history of CFC, which was founded in 2009 as an amateur club and made the jump to the professional ranks and the National Independent Soccer Association two years ago.