CFC, Red Wolves to play in Chattanooga on the same night

CFC, Red Wolves to play in Chattanooga on the same night

April 5th, 2019 by Patrick MacCoon in Breaking News

Chattanooga will get a full dose of soccer Saturday night.

For the first of five occasions this season, the city's two professional clubs will host matches on the same date, in this case starting 30 minutes apart.

Baseball's Chattanooga Lookouts also have a simultaneous home game on a busy night of sports for the city.

The Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club will host Forward Madison FC from Wisconsin at 7 p.m. in a USL League One match. A reported 2,000 pre-sold tickets suggest there will be a packed crowd at Chattanooga Christian School's David Stanton Field to watch two sides strengthened by veteran pros.

"We expect a full house for our most historic moment yet with the franchise," Red Wolves coach Tim Hankinson said. "It is important we play well. We need to sell the fans on what great soccer we can play. It's important all of our guys come to play and leave it all on the line."

Across town at Finley Stadium a friendly will be held at 7:30 p.m. between the Chattanooga Football Club and a budding rival, the Detroit City FC.

The two clubs have helped set a high bar for lower-division soccer from a culture standpoint as well as success on the field. Chattanooga FC even spurred the creation of the Detroit team that will join CFC in the National Premier Soccer League Founder's Cup, an inaugural professional entity beginning Aug. 10.

"Around 2011 I met with a friend from Detroit who came to town and brought some entrepreneurs with him to see what our club was doing," CFC president Sheldon Grizzle said. "One of those guys was Sean Mann. He loved what we were doing and used our model to establish Detroit City FC.

"Both clubs were founded by people who love their city and have used soccer to bring their communities together. I expect an energetic atmosphere, to say the least."

Super-charged fan bases led by the Chattahooligans and the Northern Guard are ready for the first of their teams' three 2019 matches against each other this season. They will meet in the Founder's Cup on Aug. 17 in Detroit and on Oct. 5 in Chattanooga.

"We have created a very special environment in this country for soccer because we have one of the best cities in this country," Chattahooligan leader Galen Riley said. "Getting two like-minded community-based soccer teams together is special. They are sure to become our fiercest rival, but off the pitch we count them among our closest friends. We feel our fans and co-owners will come out in strong support of the club Chattanooga built."

Detroit City FC has averaged nearly 5,700 fans at home games over the past three seasons. The club went 11-0-1 in its second season in 2013. CFC has won its division seven times and made it to the NPSL finals four times to go with winning the Hank Steinbrecher Cup in 2015.

After self-inflicted wounds hurt their chances on opening day against North Texas SC in a 3-2 defeat last Saturday in Frisco, Texas, the Red Wolves have focused on defensive adjustments.

"We have to defend well all-around as a team," said central midfielder Ualefi do Reis, who has taken on "Walle" as a nickname. "We had a lot of things missing last week ... but at the end we had a chance to tie. We are ready to fight and win in front of a great crowd."

Red Wolves forward Steven Beattie was awarded the USL League One goal of the week for his powerful 25-yard one-touch boot that froze the opposing keeper before smacking the back right net.

The Red Wolves will have to stop talented veteran forward JC Banks, who has produced 25 goals and 20 assists in his professional career. Forward Madison FC will be making its season debut.

"With my son and I being new soccer fans, we saw a chance to grow with a team and be a supporter from the ground up," Red Wolves fan and Scenic City Alphas member Brandon Dean said. "We aren't just cheering on soccer players, but people we now call friends and members of our community. We are excited to be a part of history."

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.


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