The four teams are set for the National Premier Soccer League Championships this weekend in San Diego. The Chattanooga Football Club is in the semifinals for the second time in three years, but it doesn't yet know who its opponent will be.
Three of the four teams were in the semifinals two years ago in Madison, Ala., when CFC advanced to the title game. Also returning are the Madison (Wis.) 56ers, whom CFC beat in the 2010 semis, and FC Sonic of Lehigh Valley, Penn.
The quartet's newcomers are the Bay Area Ambassadors from Oakland.
The semifinals will be played Friday, the third-place game Saturday and the championship game Sunday. Because of the length of the trip, CFC general manager Sean McDaniel said it's a good thing that all four teams are guaranteed two games.
Aside from knowing whom CFC plays Friday, McDaniel said the club is "close" to having all of the logistical details finalized. CFC won't have all of its players available because of family or work commitments, and some may be meeting the team in San Diego.
Midfielder Luis Trude, who scored the game's only goal in the Southeast Conference championship game on July 13, sending CFC to San Diego, is on vacation with his family in Cancun, Mexico, and likely will fly to the West Coast from there.
"It's a logistical challenge, for sure," McDaniel said. "We've got to arrange for 15-20 guys to fly across the entire country, and that's not easy to do."
Sending all those players to San Diego won't be cheap, but McDaniel said the NPSL "covers a fairly substantial amount" of each team's expenses.
CFC practiced twice last week and was able to get some well-earned rest, coach Bill Elliott said. The team will practice today through Wednesday before leaving for San Diego on Thursday. McDaniel said details are still being finalized for some kind of send-off with the fans on Wednesday.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...