As the official announcement came that former Chattanooga Football Club General Manager Sean McDaniel has been named the president and general manager of Chattanooga Pro Soccer, CFC leaders said they are meeting with Finley Stadium management to discuss the use of the facility.
Since the announcement that investor and business executive Robert “Bob” Martino secured the rights to bring a USL Division III team to Chattanooga, there’s been discussion and confusion about whether both teams could play at Finley Stadium.
CFC leaders said it’s their impression USL doesn’t share stadiums with teams in other leagues.
USL officials said Friday “USL Division III does not have such a policy, nor does Chattanooga Pro Soccer.”
CFC is a National Premier Soccer League team. The USL Division III is a higher division of U.S. soccer than the NPSL.
CFC’s Finley contract expires at the end of September.
Chattanooga Pro Soccer
McDaniel spoke this week via social media about heading up the new team here.
“I love Chattanooga; I love soccer, and I’m honored to accept this opportunity to advance soccer in our community,” McDaniel said in a prepared statement. “Chattanooga’s renaissance and the rise of soccer are lockstep. The future of soccer goes beyond playing more games. It builds community infrastructure. More soccer draws more people, more resources, more businesses and more jobs – it’s an economic incubator itself.”
In coming months, McDaniel will be putting together staff to oversee the Chattanooga organization. The Chattanooga franchise plans to hire about 40 full-time jobs in addition to event-related staff during home games, according to a news release.
Martino said that McDaniel’s local experience is important.
“To lead this new team in Chattanooga and take soccer to the next level, I knew we wanted someone dedicated to his community and this sport,” said Bob Martino, owner of the new franchise,” he said in a prepared statement. “In Sean, I found an exceptional leader, who constantly strives to elevate the game and those around him. This is a Chattanooga team, and we wanted local leadership to guide our people and operations.”
McDaniel grew up playing soccer and competed through high school before choosing Covenant College for its soccer program and Christian base as well the area’s outdoor resources, according to a news release.
McDaniel went on to coach youth soccer in Chattanooga and played for the Chattanooga Express, which had its last season in 1999.
He’s a founding member of CFC and led the club for six seasons.
Supporting the new team?
CFC’s die-hard fan base The Chattahooligans have said they won’t support the pro team.
“In other cities where an MLS or USL franchise has moved in, the existing NPSL teams are almost always either greatly damaged or disappear entirely,” according to a The Chattahooligans online talking points, which has more details about why a new team is concerning.
But some people have been put off by the contentious nature of the situation.
One former CFC player shared that sentiment online.
Ive held my tongue for to long now. Looking at these comments over that last few weeks disgusts me. All this hate about a new team coming to Chattanooga Is pathetic. CFC will never die, CFC will will always be the pivotal team for college players who want to make the next step. https://t.co/Hnt5P574Ep
— Gregory Hartley (@GDH_27) August 9, 2018
More CFC news
CFC leaders announced Thursday opening day ticket campaign for both the men’s and women’s team. The team is seeking support from local fans. The announcement, which includes ways people can support CFC, is online.
“We are really excited about this because it gives our supporters in Chattanooga, and around the world, a chance to show their love for our men’s and women’s teams,” CFC Interim General Manager Sheldon Grizzle said via email. “We’ve also created a simple way for people outside of Chattanooga to buy a ticket and have it donated through the CFC Foundation to a local family.”
CFC also announced that one of its foundation initiatives, Operation Get Active, received a $200,000 donation from the Volkswagen Workers Foundation.
“Supporting programs like Operation Get Active is core to the purpose of Chattanooga FC,” Grizzle also said.