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The Chattanooga Football Club's inaugural season in the National Independent Soccer Association was halted after one match.

Payments to CFC players, however, have not ceased.

According to CFC managing director Jeremy Alumbaugh, the team's 25 players are under contract through June 30 and will have those contracts honored. CFC's first professional season opened Feb. 29 with a 1-1 draw against Oakland Roots SC out in California, but league play was suspended March 12 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The NISA officially announced the cancellation of its spring season last week.

"All of our guys remain on payroll," Alumbaugh said. "They've stayed on payroll this whole time, and that was something we were very adamant about. These guys signed and committed to play in Chattanooga.

"We played one league game before all this hit, but we've stayed true to our contracts and didn't try to renegotiate or buy them down or buy anybody out."

Alumbaugh estimates 60% of CFC's players have remained in Chattanooga during the pandemic, with others choosing to temporarily relocate closer to loved ones. He is hoping to have the roster back together again by the end of this month.

"Our plan is to get some testing done with them and quarantine them for a couple of weeks to make sure that everybody is good," Alumbaugh said. "Then we'll start some small-group training with the hopes of getting in some closed-door matches in July."

Said CFC forward Brian Bement: "We're trying to stay as optimistic as possible, but playing without fans would be tough. Growing up, you're playing games without many people, but once you get to a certain level, it becomes less about yourself and more about the community and fans."

One event that had been planned for early July, a friendly against Wolfsburg of Germany's popular Bundesliga, will no longer take place. CFC chairman Tim Kelly in February described the international showdown as "the biggest we've had" since CFC's founding in 2009.

Wolfsburg houses the headquarters of Volkswagen.

"That's completely gone for 2020," Alumbaugh said. "We've already started planning for 2021. Hopefully our world is going to allow that to happen, because that could be a really unique thing for Chattanooga."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

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