Hosting the Hank Steinbrecher Cup highlights the Chattanooga Football Club's 2015 soccer season in the schedule released Tuesday.
The 2014 National Premier Soccer League Southeast Division champions will have at least seven home dates. The Steinbrecher Cup is a four-team tournament being held May 27-28 with the New York Greek Americans and Maryland Bays of the United States Adult Soccer Association and the Michigan Bucks, champions of the Premier Development League (USL PDL). The Greek Americans won the USASA Open championship in 2014, while the Bays won the Amateur title.
Chattanooga FC, which finished 17-3-2 last season, is the only non-defending champion in the event but was second in the NPSL to the New York Red Bulls' U-23 team, which bumped up to the PDL this year.facebook
"It's exciting and new," CFC general manager Sean McDaniel said of hosting the Steinbrecher Cup. "We were approached by the USASA, and because of the success of the fans and the city, we get the opportunity to host a national tournament."
McDaniel said the club also hopes to host another US Open Cup match. Chattanooga FC hosted two in 2014, defeating the Wilmington Hammerheads 3-1 before falling to the Atlanta Silverbacks in the third round.
"We hope to get to host an Open Cup match again, but we won't know until late April," McDaniel said. "We're really hoping our success in the stands will result in hosting."
The club averaged around 3,600 fans a match last season, including a record 8,878 when it defeated Sacramento Gold FC 3-1 in a national semifinal.
The Southeast Division lost Rocket City United, which disbanded as a club, but Chattanooga FC will have a home-and-home series against the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves this season.
CFC coach Bill Elliott, who was named the Alexander Arellano Memorial Trophy winner as the league's top coach in 2014, returns for his fourth season. Veterans Greg Hartley, Luke Winter and Jordan Dunstan are among the players returning, but the club lost Niall McCabe, who signed a contract with Louisville City FC of the United Soccer League.
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