Chattanooga Football Club has announced its first testimonial match in club history to honor Juan Hernandez, who announced his retirement from playing earlier this year.
Hernandez, the club's all-time assist leader, played 126 matches in 8 seasons for CFC.
His final match will take place on June 10 and will be the only time the #10 is worn in a CFC Men's team game this year. It will also be Hernandez's final game and final time in the captain's arm band for his beloved club.
"I love the game already by itself," Hernandez said. "You can play the game anywhere. I just never felt the same way as playing here. It felt different. It felt personal. It felt special."
For his final match, CFC and Hernandez selected Pumas FC from Paducah, Kentucky. The opponent has special meaning because Hernandez coached for that club 2014-2016. Pumas are a UPSL side, competing in the 4th tier of American soccer as an amateur team.
"Thanks to them and their help on scheduling while I lived in Paducah, it allowed me to come to Chattanooga FC," said Hernandez. "We got to build really good relationships so it will special to play against them. Most of the team will be player I coached when they were younger."
"Juan is a phenomenal soccer player and an even better human being," said Gerardo Chile, Director of Coaching for Pumas FC. "He impacted so many kids and parents' lives in the time that he lived in Paducah."
"This will be a special match for me as now I get to compete against some Pumas players that I actually coached when they were younger," said Hernandez.
"I'm extremely thankful for the unconditional support. The fans have always been there for me. For me that has always been really special."
The Pumas FC Premier team is entering their third season in the UPSL. The team is mainly composed of local talent, collegiate players, and former Pumas Academy players.
"We feel honored to play against a professional side and play at Finley Stadium to honor Juan," added Chile. "Everyone at Pumas is excited for this game. June 10th can’t come fast enough."
"We hope everyone at Finley Stadium enjoys this testimonial game. We are excited to step on the field one more time with someone that holds a special place in our soccer community."
This game is included at no additional charge for 2023 Season Ticket holders. Season tickets and Individual game tickets are on sale now at ChattanoogaFC.com/tickets.
What is a testimonial match?
A testimonial match is a tradition in soccer where a game is played in order to honor a player who has given a significant term of service to a particular club.
The player being honored will often play a half for each team, with squads normally made up of players who have a connection to the player being honored.
About Chattanooga Football Club
Chattanooga Football Club was founded in 2009. The CFC Men's team competes in the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA), which is in the third division of professional soccer. The CFC Women's team is a summer amateur team that competes in the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL). Chattanooga Football Club became the first soccer club to offer true ownership to the fans in 2019 with 3,200+ investors from Chattanooga, all 50 states, and 31 countries. CFC plays all home games in Finley Stadium in Chattanooga.