A sense of excitement filled Finley Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the new semiprofessional soccer team in Chattanooga - the Chattanooga Football Club - held its final scrimmage before beginning the season.
Only a few hundred people dotted the stands, but they were more than enough to generate a buzz considering the relatively quick and quiet manner in which the team was founded.
"We didn't really know what to expect as far as turnout, but this is great," said Krue Brock, part of the founding committee of the Chattanooga FC.
Brock, who grew up playing soccer in the area, said he was approached about the possibility of forming a team in late 2008 and was immediately intrigued.
"It happened pretty quick," Brock said of the team's creation. "I'd say within about five or six months it all came together."
Tim Kelly, owner of Kelly Auto Group and also part of the founding committee, said he believes semipro soccer and the Chattanooga area will be a perfect match.
"Our area has become diverse," Kelly said. "This can really be a great tool for community integration."
Chattanooga FC is coached by Brian Crossman, who coached successfully at the collegiate level for 33 years, the last 21 of those at Covenant.
Crossman, who still teaches at the Lookout Mountain school, said it's been a little hectic since he was first contacted about coaching the team about six weeks ago.
"We've been in scramble mode timewise, and there's a pretty big learning curve," he said. "We just have to be patient and recognize that good things take a while to develop."
Chattanooga FC will compete in the Southeast Division of the National Premier Soccer League and begins season play Saturday at 7 p.m. at Finley Stadium against the Atlanta Football Club.