Gregory Hartley was looking for a reason to come back to Chattanooga, where he spent time as a member of the Chattanooga Football Club.
The city's new professional soccer team provided that opportunity.
The former CFC goalkeeper, who spent the past two seasons with the Atherton Collieries Association Football Club in England, was announced Thursday as the first player signing with the Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club.
"This is an exciting day as we are beginning to build our professional team," Red Wolves coach Tim Hankinson said in a news release. "While Hartley brings exceptional talent and international experience, he's also familiar to Chattanooga soccer fans and our community. We're excited to announce him as the first player for Chattanooga Red Wolves SC. His presence will anchor this team and help attract additional skilled, professional players."
Hartley patrolled the nets for CFC from 2012 to 2016, helping the club to three national runner-up finishes. He was twice named the National Premier Soccer League's top goalkeeper. He also has experience playing for the Manchester City club.
The Red Wolves' general manager, Sean McDaniel, held a similar position with CFC for nine years.
"What I love about Chattanooga is the community that forms around soccer. I've been looking for an opportunity to get back playing in that atmosphere while also at the professional level," Hartley said in the release. "With the launch of Chattanooga Red Wolves SC, it's a chance for me to return to a community that has always been there for me, and I plan to be heavily involved in Chattanooga both on and off the field."
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.