CFC defeats first pro opponent in the US Open Cup
Chattanooga FC wins NPSL Southeast Conference (4th time)
Wins first NPSL South Region Title
CFC sets attendance record with 8,878 in National Semifinals
CFC finishes as NPSL National Finalist, 15W - 2T - 3L
Head Coach Bill Elliott returned to lead the club for a third season. Notable absences from the roster were longtime goalkeeper Thomas Hunter and five-season veteran Fynn Glover – who made his last appearance for the team playing in the US Open Cup match vs Atlanta Silverbacks. Notable newcomers were defender Jordan Dunstan, and midfielders Leo DeSmedt and Niall McCabe. All three would go on to play professional soccer after leaving the club.
The US Open Cup
While the NPSL regular season started off with an away win on May 10 at the Georgia Revolution in Altanta, the home season began earlier than expected with CFC hosting the first round of the US Open Cup in Finley Stadium on May 14. Heavy storms rolling in to Chattanooga from the southwest forced team officials to move the match up an hour. Despite the last minute time change, a crowd of 1,502 braved the rain.
Early in the first half Chattanooga began to look like the stronger side, using fluid wing play to create several dangerous chances. In the 21st minute, forward Luke Winter beat the Wilmington offside trap for a breakaway goal. Wilmington would equalize in the 39th minute, but would lose momentum, and a player, after a second yellow card dropped them to 10 men.
The second half started evenly but with the player advantage Chattanooga eventually asserted control. In the 63rd minute midfielder Luis Trude make a picture-perfect cross from the right wing, connecting directly with Winter. Deep into stoppage time, Chattanooga capitalized on the two-man advantage, with an insurance goal from Chrispin Ochieng, assisted by Trude, his second of the night.
CFC became the first NPSL team to defeat a professional team in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and advanced to the third round of the tournament for the first time in club history.
Two weeks later the club hosted the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL – coached by international soccer legend Eric Wynalda – and they posed a much more potent challenge with their speed and technical skill at all levels of the field. The Silverbacks strung together a pretty workmanlike 5-0 victory over the hosts in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup in front of 4,058 fans at Finley Stadium. They dominated CFC and scored in minutes 12, 17, 42, 68 and 72. In the torrential downpour of the last five minutes of the game, defender Jordan Dunstan was given a red card and goalkeeper Greg Hartley saved a penalty kick. While the game was quite disappointing, the team would find that being confronted with that level of talent early in the season would help to raise their own level of play in the following weeks.
2014 NPSL Regular Season
After the initial wins against Georgia Revolution and the Wilmington Hammerheads, CFC suffered a bit of a let down, tying Nashville FC and losing to New Orleans Jesters. An away win in Pensacola City was followed by the drubbing from Atlanta in the US Open Cup. The team then went on a winning streak, going undefeated in league play for the rest of the regular season, winning seven and tying one.
2014 NPSL Playoffs
CFC’s momentum carried into the Southeast Conference Playoffs, a new feature for 2014 where the top four teams in the conference would play for the championship. CFC mowed through the opposition: beating Nashville FC 6-1 and New Orleans 4-0 to win their fourth Conference Title in six seasons.
The team’s winning record allowed them to host the Region Semifinal where they beat Miami United FC 2-0. Tulsa Athletics then traveled to Finley Stadium for the NPSL South Region Championship, where the home team again won 2-0.
2014 National Semifinal
The city’s excitement over the club’s success was clearly growing: the team had already been getting record crowds for the NPSL, but July 26, 2014 was a new standard as 8,878 turned out to cheer them on against Sacramento Gold (the club that had defeated CFC in the 2010 National Championship).
The game started off poorly for the hosts as Sacramento spotted keeper Greg Hartley off his line and scored a 40-yard strike to put the visitors up 1-0 early. CFC was not deterred and responded immediately by going back on the offensive. Sias Reyneke scored the equaliser in the 26th minute on an assist from Jordan Dunstan and got the crowd back into the game. From there on, Chattanooga FC was off to the races: Zeca would score 39th minute, Luis Trude in the 70th minute, and James Moore would ice the game 4-1 in the 80th minute. And the fans went wild.
2014 NPSL National Championship
Much to the disappointment of CFC fans, the New York Red Bulls II (a development team for the MLS side), had gone undefeated through the regular season – giving them the right to host the National Finals up in New York. But instead of playing the match at the practice fields where the Red Bulls II attracted only a couple hundred fans, the NPSL negotiated the National Final to be played in Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ – after an official MLS match by the Red Bull first team. A bus was chartered to take Chattahooligans up to the game, and dozens more made their way to the Big Apple on their own to see the match.
On August 2nd, after the NY Red Bulls and Thierry Henry defeated the New England Revolution, CFC took to the field in the NPSL National Championship.
Chattanooga struck first in the 14th minute when a Luis Trude shot from distance hit the crossbar and fortuitously fell to All-NPSL team forward Luke Winter’s feet. Winter coolly put in the goal directly in front of the Chattahooligans supporters section in the North Ward. Chattanooga leading scorer put in the biggest goal of the season and the biggest stage. Winter got the enviable experience of celebrating in front of a crowd of screaming supporters as he scored in the championship match in a professional soccer arena.
About eight minutes later, NY evened up the match with a goal. Immediately after the goal right midfielder John Carrier, who was nursing a hamstring injury before the match, was substituted out for Jose “Zeca” Ferraz in the 24th minute. The teams went into the half tied at 1-1.
In the 56th minute Luke Winter slid for a ball and into a defender. Winter got the worst of it and was forced to come off. It was an unfitting end to an excellent season. He was replaced with 27-year-old midfielder and Clemson graduate Michael Brooks. The teams continued to battle, with NY having more of the chances throughout the second half. But then NY grabbed a bouncing ball and guided it past a diving Hartley to give the Bulls II their first lead of the evening in the 83rd minute.
In the 90th minute New York’s speed came into play. In a foot race on a loose ball Adjei got ahead of, then shielded off Chattanooga rightback Wil Linder to get a free shot on goal. Hartley made the initial save, but Adjei kept with it, and nailed the rebound. That goal sealed the championship 3-1. Chattanooga FC were National Finalists yet again.
2014 was a season of firsts:
First US Open Cup victory in club history; First NPSL team to defeat a pro team in US Open Cup tournament; First time ever to play an NASL pro team; First NPSL South Region Championship; First NPSL team to go to three National Finals; Most games in a season: 20; Most wins in a season: 15; Most Goals in a season: 51 goals; Most post-season victories in club history: 5; Highest attendance at the NPSL National Semifinal Match: 8,878.
9W - 2T - 1L · NPSL Regular Season
1W - 0T - 1L · US Open Cup Playoffs
5W - 0T - 1L · NPSL Playoff Matches
15W - 3T - 3L · All Competitions
2014 Notable Players:
Goalkeeper Greg Hartley won his second straight NPSL Golden Gloves award for his amazing season. First-season defender Jordan Dunstan showed impressive improvement and potential over the course of the season. Luke Winter led the way with 10 goals, while Luis Trude and Sias Reyneke contributed 7 goals apiece and newcomer Niall McCabe added in 6 goals. John Carrier led the way with 8 assists and Luis Trude contributed 6. Niall McCabe would go on to join the pro side Louisville City FC where he would be an important part of the Championship winning squads.
2014 total home attendance was 37,245 in 12 matches.
Nate Adams, Mohamed Aden, Michael Brooks, John Carrier, Thibault Charmey, Leo DeSmedt, Jordan Dunstan, Jose “Zeca” Ferraz, Gabe Franco, Jorge Gonzalez Giron, Fynn Glover, Joel Glover, Tom Halsall, Greg Hartley, Ivan Heredia, Andy Ingram, Chris Lavie, Wil Linder, Niall McCabe, Cameron McCaslin, Bryson Moore, James Moore, Chris Ochieng, Adam Reakes, Sias Reyneke, Andy Stewart, Gustavo Angel Tamayo, Luis Trude, Luke Winter.
The 2014 Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Bill Elliott; Assistant Coach: Jimmy Weekley; Goalkeeper Coach: Jordan Matthiess.
Chattanooga FC Women:
Chattanooga FC helped to launch a premier Women’s team in spring of 2014. The amateur team was started by Buck Roebuck and Kenny Lee, with the help of the Chattanooga FC Board. Patrick Winecoff served as the very first Head Coach and led the team to a record of 5W - 2D - 4L in the Womens Premier Soccer League (WPSL).
2014 CFC Related News
Highland Park Commons (park and futsal courts) was built as an initiative by the Maclellan Foundation with a grant from the US Soccer Foundation in 2011. CFC began helping to manage the fields in 2014.
In late 2014 Bill Nuttall, owner of Golden Viking Sports (licensee for the soccer brand Diadora) and a former goalkeeper in the original NASL, was asked to join the Chattanooga FC Board. From 1991-1998 Nuttall served as General Manager for the U.S. national teams. Nuttall ended up in Chattanooga because his daughter lived in the city, and connected with the club for Diadora.