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Chattanooga FC board chairman Tim Kelly announces the opportunity for fans to purchase shares of the team during a news conference at the Camp House in January.

By the time the door closes to the Chattanooga Football Club's supporter ownership campaign late Saturday night after a home match against the Georgia Revolution, the club will have raised more than $800,000 since opening 8,000 shares to the public on Jan. 17.

Close to 3,000 investors who have bought more than 6,300 shares of Chattanooga FC as of Friday represent all 50 states and more than 25 countries.

"There are people all over the place who have roots or a connection to our amazing city," CFC president Sheldon Grizzle said. "For them to buy shares of the club is a way they can stay connected from afar or nearby.

some text Sheldon Grizzle

"CFC has also been an inspiration to a lot of non-MLS cities and soccer enthusiasts around the country. Just from briefly looking at our list of supporter-owners, I saw five or six other NPSL team owners. This was a way for them to show support and be unified in this lower-division soccer world."

Over its 11 years of existence, CFC has played for national championships and even stood toe-to-toe last Saturday with a world power, La Liga's Real Betis.

The grassroots club that has drawn a single-game attendance exceeding 18,000 continues to surpass its goals.

"We set our minimum goal at 50,000 dollars, and the realistic hope was 250,000," Grizzle said. "I am so glad our supporters have a sense of ownership, and their support helps the long-term viability of the club. We are very honored to have this many people jump in and support us."

The federal maximum of fundraising CFC could reach was $1,070,000, and it will have raised nearly 80 percent of that when the chance to buy shares ends at 11:59 Saturday night. Those interested in buying shares can visit https://wefunder.com/chattanoogafc.

CFC will use the money raised to help its transition to professional soccer later this season when it plays in the Founder's Cup. The breakdown of money will be 50% player payroll, 20% marketing budget, 15% travel budget, 10% international friendlies and 5% refunder intermediary fees.

"A lot of the people who are coming to our games and that are now owners are people who have a pride in the place they live or their parents lived," Grizzle said. "A great percentage of those who have bought shares are not super soccer fans but people who love what we are doing and love our values and vision."

He said the vision for CFC is to last "over 100 years" and help "lead the way in American soccer."

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

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