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Fans line up for chance to see Chattanooga FC in national championship

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More than 7,300 presale tickets have been claimed for Saturday night's National Championship game at Finley Stadium between Chattanooga FC and NY Cosmos-B. Kickoff for the 2015 NPSL National Championship is 7:30 p.m. Organizers expect another record crowd with well over 10,000 in the stands.

The ticket line at Finley Stadium around lunchtime on Friday was more than 50 deep.

Fans are encouraged to arrive early on Saturday due to the record crowd. Gates will open at 6:00 p.m.

Based on scoring in the regular season, the Cosmos and Chattanooga FC are seeded 1 and 2 respectively in the league, and both teams advance to the final with decisive wins against strong opponents last Saturday night. The NY Cosmos B defeated California-based CD Aguiluchos 5-2 while the Chattanooga FC defeated the Indiana Fire 3-0 in front of a record home crowd of 9,236. 

Chattanooga FC recently broke the league’s attendance record on Aug. 1 with 9,236 in attendance at Finley Stadium for their 3-0 win over the Indiana Fire.  This broke the league’s previous record of 8,878, which was also held by Chattanooga FC.  

“We felt that having the match in Chattanooga was best for the league,” NPSL Chairman Joe Barone commented. “It will provide us with the maximum exposure. We wish both teams the best of luck as we all look forward to this weekend.”

Immediately following Saturday’s matches, work began to determine the best location for the 2015 Championship game. While their #1 seed gives the NY Cosmos B the right of refusal for home-field advantage, Chattanooga was able to secure the home field advantage, with the Championship to be played at Finley Stadium’s Davenport Field on Saturday, August 8 at 7:30pm. 

“We’re happy to support this decision. The NPSL final will be a great showcase for the NPSL in front of what we expect to be a record-setting crowd,” said Cosmos Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover. “Cosmos B is pivotal for us in developing young talent for our first team and this will be a great test for our guys.”

While there were a number of factors at play, according to CFC board member Tim Kelly, one of the most persuading arguments to bring the game to Chattanooga was the combination of a world-class soccer facility and the strongest fan base in the NPSL.

“In a league where most teams enjoy the regular support of a few hundred fans, our fan-base here Chattanooga is envied—and our partnership with Finley stadium insures a great experience for fans and players alike. Teams want to play here.” 

The CFC and Finley Stadium worked very hard to bring the NY Cosmos B to the scenic city. Asked about bringing the match to Chattanooga, CFC General Manager Sean McDaniel stated, “Our boys have given this team and this community everything they have this season. They have played with incredible heart and have rallied this community around the CFC. We [the CFC Board] felt that we owed it to these young men and our fans to do everything in our power to let the club play for a National Championship in front of the best fans in the league.” 

This will be the Chattanooga FC’s third appearance in the NPSL National Championship (2010, 2012, 2014), and its first to be played at home.

With less than two weeks between this match and the appearance of the US Women’s National Team vs. Costa Rica on August 19, Finley Stadium staff will be working full time to make preparations for the match. 

According to Paul Smith, Executive Director of Finley Stadium and Davenport Field, “We knew at the beginning of the season that this game would be a possibility. We’ll be stretching our staff to pull this off, but there’s no way we won’t be ready for this game. We’ve had an amazing relationship with the CFC and we’re proud of our partnership with the club.” 

Asked about the game’s impact on the city, Tim Morgan, Head of the Chattanooga Sports Committee, says “There’s no doubt that his game builds respect and credibility from the NPSL and from US Soccer, furthering our ongoing efforts to promote the scenic city as a premier soccer destination, linking the beautiful game with one of the most beautiful cities in the US.”

The NY Cosmos B will be a formidable opponent for the CFC, even at home in front of Chattanooga’s notorious “12th Man”, the Chattahooligans. 

“At this level, there are no guarantees," said CFC Head Coach Bill Elliott. "The NY Cosmos B have all the skills and experience necessary to contend for the National Title. They are, quite frankly, an outstanding club, and we’ll have to play smart, flawless soccer to claim a championship against them. But it’s a game I know we can play.” 

With six NASL Championships, the NASL Cosmos have a strong and storied history in American professional soccer. That experience, infrastructure and staff have no doubt benefitted the NPSL side "Cosmos B." The NY Cosmos B have gone 11-0-1 in league play with a staggering 49 goals against opponents, allowing only 7 in the regular season. 

An interesting aside: The NY Cosmos roster was bolstered mid-season with the addition of eight-time NBA All-Star Steve Nash, and there are rumors that he may perhaps be playing with the B team.

Advance tickets are $10 and available online at Game-day tickets will be $12.00 at the gate. Children 5 and under are admitted free.  

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