Tomorrow's Chattanooga FC match holds a special place in my heart, and it hasn’t even been played yet.
My first CFC match was July 4, 2015, against Nashville FC (RIP). I had moved into my apartment just three days before and was trying to get my bearings for this new city I’d soon call home. I was embracing the idea of trying new things, so I joined my soon-to-be coworkers at the CFC match. I even documented the occasion on my Instagram (actual first CFC-related post is here, if you’re curious).
It definitely wasn’t the kind of “football” I was used to, after coming from a Power-5 conference college. I didn’t know a thing about the game of soccer beyond “kick the ball into the net” and “cheer when your team does that.” After the 90-ish minutes of play, I still didn’t know exactly what happened, except that CFC won 2-0 and there were going to be fireworks shortly following the match.
I also knew, without a doubt, that I would be back at Finley Stadium the following weekend, and that the soccer spirit was already getting in my blood.
I’ll be the the first one to say, “hey, let’s have a party and celebrate America.” In the past, that had meant grilling out with my family and our neighbors, cheers-ing to freedom, playing with sparklers and catching lightning bugs ‘til way past our bedtimes.
I miss celebrating with my biological family and our friends, but now I have an entirely different family to celebrate with in Chattanooga.
We’ll celebrate with many rounds of beer pong, cornhole and other traditional tailgate games. We’ll celebrate with some of the most delicious homemade, handmade food and drinks I’ve had at any sporting event. This year, we’ll celebrate with whipped cream “pies” that will be smashed in the faces of some of our favorite people, all for charity. We’ll celebrate with lots of drinking, cheers-ing and singing. And you can bet we’ll be cheers-ing to much more than America and freedom. We’ll be cheers-ing to our Boys in Blue and singing for the Chattanooga FC until our lungs give out.
Most importantly, we’ll celebrate with each other. The way the city of Chattanooga comes together to support the boys on the field is a sight that can’t be matched anywhere else. Chattanooga FC is about more than soccer. And when American pride meets Chattanooga passion, it’s magnified tenfold and I can’t stop the chills.
Give ‘em hell, boys. I want fireworks on the field and in the sky.
Go CFC, Go America.