Chattanooga Football Club has been the Scenic City’s soccer team since 2009.
As of January 17, 2019, it can be your team, too.
CFC’s world got a whole lot bigger – and American soccer got a whole lot better – when the club introduced supporter ownership on Thursday. Eight thousand shares will be sold, giving a turbo boost to the team’s evolution from elite amateurs to a founding member of the National Premier Soccer League’s professional division.
“The American sports landscape is dominated by a relatively small group of very wealthy owners,” club co-founder and chairman Tim Kelly said during the announcement. “We feel this could be a real game-changer to connect communities across the country with teams they love in a deep and meaningful way. Teams leave cities because their objective is not to serve the community, but to maximize profit. By offering our fans ownership and re-organizing as a public benefit corporation, we are permanently committing ourselves to Chattanooga.
“We love this city and will never leave it.”
If you believe in grassroots soccer – if you want to see what it can become – you have to believe this is the best possible move. Instead of an ownership group parachuting into town with a franchise hoping you’ll buy into their vision, a group of people can, quite literally, buy into a club.
Fortunately for football fanatics in Chattanooga and beyond, that club was already there, one that has drawn more than 350,000 supporters since its inception.
This marks the first time an American sports team has “gone public” since the securities reform laws were passed in 2016, allowing these types of investments.
But perhaps even more importantly it lays the foundation for other clubs to do the same.
Instead of big box soccer franchises run by wealthy owners or ownership groups, now there exists a legitimate opportunity for communities to invest in soccer and make it as big as they want it to be.
“This is a great example of (Chattanooga’s) way of coming together and creating a new style of football club,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said. “This is another way for us to democratize something that people think of as something for only super wealthy people, to own a sports team. You look at the people who own an NFL team or an NBA team, I’m not talking about if they’re great or terrible people but to do that, you have to be super wealthy.
“This is a chance for us to show a different path for ownership.”
Thursday’s bombshell is not only huge news for Chattanooga, but gives a nice boost to the NPSL as well. Once the “traditional” league season ends late this summer, the NPSL Founders Cup competition – featuring the organization’s fledgling pro squads – will run from August to November, 2019.
The 11 founding members are ASC San Diego, Cal FC, California United Strikers FC, Chattanooga FC, FC Arizona, Detroit City FC, Miami FC, Miami United FC, Milwaukee Torrent, New York Cosmos and Oakland Roots, and I truly hope as many clubs as possible will follow CFC’s lead.
In fact, I hope January 17, 2019, will one day be remembered as the date that forever changed the landscape of American soccer – making it bolder and brighter.
If that’s the case, I guess it makes sense that a club in the Scenic City was at the forefront of the movement.
Investment opportunities can be found at wefunder.com/chattanoogafc.