Some people refer to Chattanooga as "The Gig City," but perhaps in soccer circles it should be known as "The Rig City."
Remember when Chattanooga FC was allowed to go to the U.S. Amateur National Championship instead of the New York Red Bulls U23s? There were excuses made about the Red Bulls changing leagues and Chattanooga "deserving it because they could host," but the fact remains that the rightful champion of the 2014 NPSL season was not able to participate. It was a disgrace in May and it remains a disgrace now.
I hope you're ready to be shocked because the goalposts are being moved for Chattanooga yet again.
Going into the NPSL Final Four, the New York Cosmos B were given the top seed and Chattanooga was given the number two seed. Both teams won their semifinal match and advanced to the championship. Naturally, since the match isn't being held at a neutral venue, one would assume that the top seed would host.
You would be wrong.
Chattanooga is hosting. Why? Because of interests other than sporting reasons, of course! Take it away, Joe:
"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."
We get it: Chattanooga gets a lot of people to watch amateur soccer. That doesn't mean they should be hosting. They were the number two seed. I don't care if 100,000 people could fit into Chattanooga's Finley Stadium; they shouldn't be hosting.
What's "best for the league" isn't giving the inferior team the advantage of a home match because they get a lot of people to show up. What's "best for the league" is maintaining your competitive integrity and not making decisions based on popularity or exposure.
If Chattanooga wanted to host, they should have proven it on the field during the regular season and earned a higher seed that the New York Cosmos B. But, of course, because they have a lot of supporters and are a shining example of what amateur soccer can be in this country, they're going to continue to receive unfair advantages that fly in the face of all standards of decency, fairness, justice, and the American way.
If they win, they'll celebrate the league championship much like they celebrated their ill-gotten U.S. Amateur Championship. There will be articles written about how the club "does it the right way" and how they're "the future of soccer in this country." But deep down Chattanooga FC's fans, players, and ownership will know that it's yet another fraudulent bauble on the crown of lies that sits upon their head.