The CFC Soccer Summit on Feb 15 (a charette where local soccer leaders discussed the state of the sport in the Chattanooga community) led to a new vision for the city’s youth soccer. At that Summit, Chattanooga United’s club was represented by President Trevin Bernarding, board member Bill Fraser, Director of Coaching Pat Johnston, and several coaches. Every other club in the community was also invited, and thirty leaders of Chattanooga soccer attended.

Out of that summit came a virtually unanimous agreement Chattanooga soccer needed to come together in a different way. Various ideas were discussed and what became clear at the conclusion of the meeting was that there are many passionate people in the community who care deeply about youth soccer. As a result, Chattanooga FC applied to Tennessee Soccer to establish an Academy — a new youth club for the city.

Chattanooga’s FC’s Academy expressed values for youth soccer that are directly in line with Chattanooga United’s mission (established in 2009) - which is “to provide a unified, positive soccer experience for youth in the greater Chattanooga Community in a manner that develops and enhances their skills and passion for the game which translates into success both on the field and off.”

Based on this shared vision, Chattanooga United President Trevin Bernarding recommended to the CUFC board that they join the CFC Academy beginning with the 2012/13 soccer year. The board voted unanimously on March 21 to accept his recommendation.

First and foremost, I hope that CUFC players and parents will recognize that joining CFC’s Academy accelerates our vision to be a premier soccer club in Tennessee,” said Trevin Bernarding. “We want a club where all level of players can get first rate training without having to go to Knoxville, Atlanta, or Brentwood. Joining CFC gets Chattanooga soccer to that point faster.”

There are many reasons for this course of action. CFC believes, as CUFC does, that the Academy will provide the Chattanooga community with a single, unified program committed to developing the skills and success of our players and their teams - all the way from U8 through their high school years. CFC will strive to develop the skill level of all players. And CFC has the access to additional resources — including more fields: the futsal courts at Highland Park and Finley Stadium. There are also plans for more fields to be built in the Chattanooga area over the next 18 months.

Along with the fields, CFC’s resources and partnerships with local businesses will also provide more opportunity for players in our community who have yet to benefit from club soccer.

Nothing will change for Chattanooga United teams through the end of the spring season,” said CUFC Board Member Bill Fraser. “As the tryout period in June gets closer, we will be sending more details about CFC Academy. We will also have a Chattanooga United meeting soon where we will answer any questions CUFC parents and coaches may have.”

We are greatly honored by this announcement. Chattanooga United’s overwhelming support means a great deal to Chattanooga FC,” said board member Krue Brock. “This is an great opportunity for Chattanooga soccer, and the CFC Academy will make every effort to ensure that all players will benefit from this new partnership.”