The idea for Chattanooga Football Club is born.
Thomas Clark, a former soccer player with the US Air Force and a Chattanooga transplant, tried out with an amateur soccer team in Birmingham, AL. The team was playing in the National Premier Soccer League, a league formed in 2003 as the Men’s Premier Soccer League (MPSL) which then became the NPSL in 2005.
Unhappy with having to travel two hours to play, Clark mentioned the idea of starting a team in the same league in Chattanooga to his friend, Krue Brock.
After Clark pitched the idea to Krue Brock and Daryl Heald, he told Sheldon Grizzle they wanted to see a business plan (late 2008) before moving forward. He put Sheldon in touch with Andy Zorovich, of the NPSL’s Rocket City United, who helped fill in some critical gaps in the business plan.
Thomas and Sheldon then went back to Krue and Daryl and pitched them with a bit more information about what it would take financially to run the first season. Krue and Daryl decided that “the time was right for the world’s game to come to Chattanooga” and gave the green light. The group then all went into recruitment mode to pull in anyone who would be willing to help.
Chattanooga FC joins the NPSL on January 15, 2009
First game May 16, 2009: a 3-1 loss in front of 1,650 fans
CFC finishes the league tied for second place, 4W - 1T - 3L
On January 15, 2009 Krue Brock and Daryl Heald submitted an application and deposit to start an amateur men’s soccer team the National Premier Soccer League. Mark Duble delivered the application at the NCSAA National Convention. The NPSL had 27 teams and four conferences across the US.
After that Clark, Brock and Heald convinced Sheldon Grizzle, Tim Kelly, Paul Rustand, Marshall Brock and Sean McDaniel to help get the club launched. Covenant College’s Head Men’s Soccer Coach, John Migliarese agreed to be the head coach, and Baylor School’s Jimmy Weekley agreed to assist. Ben Crosland, Hamilton Brock, Angela McDaniel and Ben Johnson provided much needed help along the way.
The first tryouts were held at Camp Jordan on a frigid day in February. Soon after, Miglarese took a new college coaching job in Arkansas and had to leave before the season began. The very successful and experienced former Covenant College Head Coach, Brian Crossman, agreed to step in to lead the team. Scott Bosgraf, Cullen Hooks and Chris Cushenberry helped with assistant coaching duties throughout the summer.
The co-founders hoped to one day draw as many as perhaps 500 fans to a game, but at kickoff of the very first match, thunderstorms rolled in. After almost an hour of downpours and lightning storms, the team took the field in front of over 1,600 fans. Attendance grew with each successive home match, with over 3,000 attending the final home game of the season.
After losing the first two games, the team went on to win four, tie one and lose one in its last six matches, finishing tied for second in the NPSL Southeast Conference. Founders Thomas Clark and Sheldon Grizzle also played for the team.
4W - 1T - 3L · NPSL Regular Season/All Competitions
See the 2009 season results here. Click on individual matches to read match highlights.
2009 Notable Players
Omar Cooke led in goals with 4, and Ciaran Traquair led assists with 2. Noteworthy players include goalie Richard Masters, defenders Russell Courtney (Captain) and Tim Sparks, midfielders Fynn Glover, Ivan Heredia, Mark Beattie and Elliott Anderson, and strikers Omar Cooke, Daniel Tackling and Moises Drummond.
2009 total home attendance over 4 games was 8,038.
The 2009 Roster:
Mark Beattie; Ryan Berube; Rob Carden; Jesse Charles; Thomas Clark; Omar Cooke; Russell Courtney; Moises Drummond; Joshua Earl; Irvin Espinal; Sheldon Grizzle; Carlos Gutierrez; Aldo Heredia; Ivan Heredia; Josh Johnson; Casey Johnston; Richard Masters; Allen Medearis; Nickson Odeny; Ryan Peck; Blake Pelton; David Pifer; Aaron Stanton; Jake Warren; Daniel Tackling; Fynn Glover; Russell Courtney; Joshua Scott; John Simmons; Tim Sparks; Ciaran Traquair; Danny Van Valkenburg; Sasha Viatrov; Derek Wieldraayer.
The 2009 Coaching Staff:
Head Coach: Brian Crossman; Assistant Coach: Jimmy Weekley; Goalie Coach: Scott Bosgraf. Volunteer Assistants: Cullon Hooks, Chris Cushenbery.