A USL League One team will invest big money in building its own stadium and a mixed-use development around it.
Bob Martino – the owner of Chattanooga Red Wolves SC – announced Thursday the club will build a soccer-specific stadium with space for housing, retail, restaurants, hotels and greenspace around it in a proposed $125 million investment in East Ridge and Chattanooga, Tenn.
“I am laying out a vision for a community-focused soccer and entertainment destination for our region,” Martino said in a statement. “The Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club was founded with the ultimate goal of strengthening our community through soccer, and this investment doubles down on my commitment to the region, our players and the soccer community. People will be able to live, dine and play here and experiencing professional soccer in a unique setting is at the heart of this development.”
The entire development will sit on 100 acres of land and is expected to generate between $6 million and $7 million in tax revenue annually, according to a club statement. Martino’s plan includes space for 400 apartments, 375 hotel rooms, 475,000 square feet of commercial space and a network of walking trails.
Martino expects 1,200 jobs to be created from the project between the next three to five years.
“East Ridge has never experienced an investment on this level that benefits our community in so many ways,” the city’s mayor, Brian Williams, said in a statement. “Bob Martino could have put this stadium and development wherever he wanted, but he chose our community, and we are so appreciative.”
The stadium – which will be able to seat about 5,500 fans – will host team offices, lockers, meeting spaces for film review and training areas. Not only will the Red Wolves of USL League One play there, but the Dalton Red Wolves of USL League Two and the Lady Red Wolves of the WPSL will play occasional games there, too. Concerts and other events will take place there as well, according to the release.
Construction is set to begin in the coming months.
USL League One has 10 clubs this season, but the league is expected to announce its 11th – an expansion side set to begin play in 2020 – next week.
Things to know
- Nashville SC is coming off a 3-1 loss to Charleston Battery, but the club has developed a reputation of bouncing back from big losses in its short history. Following multi-goal defeats, Nashville has two wins and two draws. On Saturday, they head to Pittsburgh for a battle with the defense-minded Riverhounds.
- Speaking of Pittsburgh, here’s a crazy stat: The Riverhounds have lost just six times in their last 40 matches. So far this season, they’re 2-1-3.
- Sure, they play in the same state, but is North Carolina FC vs. Charlotte Independence really a rivalry? The record says no. NCFC has owned the series against their neighbors to the South lately, winning their sixth straight meeting against Charlotte last Saturday behind goals from Austin da Luz, Marios Lomis and Ben Speas. With a win over Hartford this weekend, NCFC could move into second place in the Eastern Conference.
- Also of note in the world of North Carolina FC, academy product Adam Armour has been called into the U.S. U-17 national team for the upcoming Concacaf U-17 Championships set to begin on May 1 in Bradenton, Florida.
- Leo Fernandes tallied a pair of assists and scored a goal for the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday, as they topped ATL UTD 2 4-1 in Kennesaw, Georgia.
- On Thursday, Memphis 901 FC acquired forward Jochen Graf from the New York Cosmos of the NPSL. Graf, 29, is a native of Texas and has played professionally in the U.S., Germany and Sweden. In 2017, he scored 11 goals in 30 appearances for the Rochester Rhinos.
- Another Memphis player, Heviel Cordoves, announced he is retiring from professional soccer. The 29-year-old Cuban has scored 35 goals in his USL career, dating to 2013 and including stints with the Charleston Battery and Richmond Kickers. He has nine caps and one goal scored for the Cuban national team. Cordoves said in a statement he is leaving the game due to a non-soccer related medical condition. Said Cordoves: “Today it’s my body, which is saying ‘stop, that’s enough’ and keeping me away from the soccer pitch. That is all that ever could keep me away from it.”
- The Montreal Impact of MLS have loaned Amar Sejdic – the 34th overall pick in the 2019 SuperDraft – to Ottawa Fury FC for a season-long term. Playing for the Maryland Terrapins, Sejdic was named the most valuable player of the 2018 College Cup.
Let’s turn back briefly to League One, to see the handles of Joe Gallardo.
— USL League One (@USLLeagueOne) April 25, 2019
A throw-in assist here from the Las Vegas Lights.
— USL Championship (@USLChampionship) April 21, 2019
They said it
Nashville SC defender Taylor Washington on Pittsburgh’s new playing surface: “I think it’s good news for everyone. Playing a year on there was definitely challenging on the knees, all the joints. I need to talk to some of the boys out there and see how it’s playing. I am excited to be back there on Friday and play on Saturday.”
ATL UTD 2 defender Jon Gallagher on academy player George Campbell: “I’m seeing steady improvement all season long with him. With every game he’s taking on a bigger role in the team. Defensively, you can see him even leading at times, being a bit more vocal which is something we are trying to get out of him.”