COVID caused empty stadium not draining CFC players desire

The Chattanooga Football Club at Thursday morning practice. CFC (2-0) players say they miss the energy of the fans, but must push forward. PHOTO: WTVC SPORTS

The Chattanooga Football Club is growing accustomed to following COVID protocols, in practice and matches.

But one of the toughest changes is playing in an empty Finley Stadium. It's time to take a look from a player's perspective.

CFC (2-0) is off to a good start. The team will be looking Saturday night for victory number three, but once again they will be playing with no fans in the seats.

That didn't stop The Boys in Blue from having a spirited Thursday morning practice.

Ian McGrath is tied for the team scoring lead and has a workman like outlook on playing in an empty stadium. McGrath said, "It's definitely different. You don't get energy, especially with this crowd. It's definitely been awkward, it's been weird, but at the end of the day, it's our job to go out there and get results."

Head coach Peter Fuller said it hasn't hurt his team's start of matches. Fuller said they've come out like "a house on fire" to begin games, but sustaining that level of play would be easier with fans in the stands.

But he understands why Fort Finley will be empty Saturday night. Fuller said, "It was a joint decision between the city and the club out of an abundance of caution with everything that's going on. (butt to 19:49) We've had a big spike in terms of COVID and so I think it's the club trying to make sure we look after the community. "

Brian Bement is the other half of the scoring lead. Bement points out soccer is a game of passion, even when COVID has kept fans at home. Bement noted, "Obviously, fans make a huge difference and you can feed off of their energy, but in the end, we're all kids at heart. We grew up playing in a park in front of nobody, just with our friends. You just have to remember why you play the game, it's because we love it."