(Chattanooga FC) - Chattanooga FC has been tapped to compete against the professional team Wilmington Hammerheads, in The Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, the oldest ongoing soccer competition in the United States.
"Not only are we an largely-amateur team picked to compete in a major tournament against a professional team, we've been asked to host the David and Goliath matchup, right here at home," said General Manager Sean McDaniel.
"This is the biggest soccer game that Chattanooga has ever seen," said Board member Tim Kelly. "We need the fans to come out, show their colors, and raise their voices to show that we have the best fans in the Southeast."
The game is slated for May 14 as the home opener. Kickoff has been moved to 6:30 p.m. due to the possibility of storms later in the evening.
Chattanooga FC has been in the US Open Cup Tournament twice before —once in 2011 and again last year — and while the team performed very competitively, they lost both games in either overtime or penalty kicks. The team is no stranger to playing a professional club, in 2011 it faced the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, then a team in the lower second division of the USL.
The tournament champion wins $250,000 and the runner-up wins $60,000. While it is unlikely for an all-amateur team like CFC to go that far, there still is an opportunity to win $15,000 by advancing farther than any other amateur team.
Not only is the Open Cup tournament a great chance for CFC's young players to test their skills against professional competitors, it is also a great opportunity to get noticed by professional clubs. A good performance could mean a chance to go pro.
"The entire team and coaching staff are very excited about the opportunity to play in such a prestigious tournament," said CFC Head Coach Bill Elliott. "We look forward to playing our very best and advancing in the US Open Cup.”
CFC’s History in The US Open Cup Chattanooga FC played in the US Open Cup in 2011 after winning a tournament against other Southeast Conference opponents (including an exhilarating 1-0 win in the last minutes of overtime against bitter rival Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves). The club went on to play the pro team Pittsburgh Riverhounds in Pennsylvania, losing 3-2 in overtime.
Last season, Chattanooga FC automatically qualified for the US Open Cup by winning the National Premier Soccer League's Southeast Conference in 2012. They drew the Carolina Dynamo in Greensboro, NC also a 2012 National Finalist of the Premier Development League (PDL), a league comparable to the NPSL. CFC played well on the road — scoring four goals, forcing the game into overtime and then penalty kicks, where they eventually lost. ABOUT THE LAMAR HUNT US OPEN CUP The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is a knockout tournament in American soccer. The tournament is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the U.S. and is currently open to all United States Soccer Federation affiliated teams, from amateur adult club teams to the professional clubs of Major League Soccer.
ABOUT CHATTANOOGA FOOTBALL CLUB Worldwide, soccer builds community, shapes culture, develops talent and unites diverse peoples. Chattanooga Football Club is helping the same happen right here in Chattanooga, creating true opportunity for all players and great entertainment for all fans. Chattanooga FC is a member team of the National Premier Soccer League, Southeast Region. The NPSL is sanctioned by the USASA as an affiliate of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), and FIFA, the world’s governing body for soccer.