MLS NEXT Pro on Tuesday announced the addition of Chattanooga FC as an independent club for the league's third season in 2024.
Founded in 2009, Chattanooga FC most recently participated in the National Independent Soccer Association (third division), where they've competed the past three seasons. Pending sanctioning approval by the U.S. Soccer Federation, they're set to become the league's second active independent team, joining Carolina Core FC and 27 MLS-affiliated clubs.
The still-to-debut Jacksonville Armada FC and Cleveland complete a total of four independent clubs to join MLS NEXT Pro since its inaugural season.
“Since its founding, Chattanooga FC has been a pillar in the community through its efforts both on and off the field," MLS NEXT Pro president Charles Altchek said in a release. "We are thrilled to welcome the club to our league."
Chattanooga FC boast a unique fan ownership model, with more than 3,000 owner-fans spread across all 50 states and over more than 30 countries around the world.
“In our history, every time we’ve needed them, our supporters have stood up for CFC,” primary owner and vice chairman Davis Grizzard said. “We know that partnering with MLS NEXT Pro will put more eyes on our community now than ever before. As they’ve done for every major milestone in this club’s past, we’re excited to see fans celebrate this next chapter.”
In addition to the men's team, Chattanooga FC field a women's squad that competes in the Women's Premier Soccer League while also providing opportunities for nearly 700 local youngsters between the U7-U18 levels.
For the 2024 MLS NEXT Pro season they'll continue playing their home games at Finley Stadium, which has previously hosted MLS preseason games, international friendlies and US Open Cup matches. The move to MLS NEXT Pro will coincide with renovations to the facility that will include a new luxury stadium club experience, new LED field lights, and elevator modernization.
With the addition of two new teams in 2024, updates on MLS NEXT Pro’s conference and division alignment and schedule for next season will be announced in the coming months.