CFC goes pro, set to compete in new league associated with the National Premier Soccer League

CFC goes pro, set to compete in new league associated with the National Premier Soccer League

November 15th, 2018 by Gene Henley in Sports - Professional

The Chattahooligans cheer during a Chattanooga FC game against the Birmingham Hammers at Finley Stadium in May 2017.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 15

In a span of five months, the city of Chattanooga has gone from zero professional soccer teams to two.

The National Premier Soccer League announced Thursday that a group of 11 clubs — including the Chattanooga Football Club — across the United States will launch a pro league in association with the NPSL. The league will have its normal season, which starts in May and runs through August, which will be followed by the first-ever NPSL Founders Cup competition that will run from August to November next year.

A full league season will be played beginning in spring 2020.

"We are very excited to bring a new brand of community-based soccer to the U.S. Market," NPSL chairman Joe Barone said in a news release. "Beginning with the Founders Cup, fans will be able to enjoy watching authentic clubs competing with professional players and staff. This new venture will build upon the success and experience of NPSL and its nationwide network of local soccer club members."

CFC is one of the founding members, along with ASC San Diego, Cal FC, California United Strikers FC, Detroit City FC, FC Arizona, Miami FC, Miami United FC, Milwaukee Torrent, New York Cosmos and Oakland Roots, and plans are being developed to add additional clubs.

CFC just finished its 10th season in the NPSL and now joins the newly developed Chattanooga Red Wolves as professional teams in the city. CFC has five Southeast Conference championships in the NPSL's South Region and has been national runner-up four times, most recently in 2015.

"This has been in the works for several years, and we are proud for our fans and supporters to see this come to fruition," CFC general manager Sheldon Grizzle said in a released statement.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.