1. Charlotte has a growing soccer culture
Charlotte has a great sense of camaraderie between all the soccer fans in town. In fact, more restaurants are dedicated to soccer specific teams. “Courtyard Hooligans,” for example, is local pub located in Uptown that attracts avid soccer fans. As a frequent supporter of the bar, Jay Landskroener, comments on the growing success of soccer in Charlotte: “Being in a transient city, there are fans of all teams and all nationalities here that band together for the love of the game.”
As the home base for numerous of adult leagues, various college and university teams, premier club teams, and a USL PRO team, Charlotte provides an array of exciting games and events. Fans have the opportunity to support their community by attending local games for the Charlotte Independence, Charlotte Eagles, Charlotte 49ers, and other college teams.
Regardless if the games are played across the world or here in the city, Charlotte fans will be sure to watch!
2. The US is attracting more and more high-profile soccer events
For the first time, the 2016 Copa Centenario will be held in the United States. According to the Confederation of North, Central and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), this event will have a tremendous effect on the soccer market. Alongside the ever growing number of Top European clubs touring the USA during the summer, exciting soccer hosting opportunities keep coming up often for cities like Charlotte.
“We are proud to play a leading role in the celebration of the centennial of tournament born to unite all [North and South American] soccer fans. Year after year the Cup has gained prestige, which has allowed the opening of doors to the football of an entire continent. Jeffery Webb, the CONCACAF president, added: “What football can do is unite the Americas like never before and reach a previously unexplored pinnacle” (ESPN). As the popularity of soccer is quickly rising, Charlotte should be considered to host this international event. The Copa Centenario would have been a great example of it, but unfortunately Charlotte did not make the cut among the finalists to host this great event.
If this city wants to avoid this happening again, we need to strengthen our image as a soccer-loving city, which takes us to our next point…
3. We Might soon get our own MLS team
According to Creative Loafing, Charlotte Independence has high hopes of becoming a MLS team in the future. As a result of this promotion, Charlotte will make a substantial impression on the Southeast soccer markets.
Jim McPhilliamy, the owner of both the Hounds and the Charlotte Independence, is very optimistic about the potential of establishing a MLS team: “I feel like Charlotte is going to deserve a MLS team. If I can set the table properly to bring MLS to Charlotte, I think that’d be a really cool thing to do. You don’t get the opportunities very much to say ‘I helped do something cool that impacted an entire city,’ and that’s what I’m really excited about.”
Until all of the arrangements are made final, McPhilillamy is diligently working hard to prepare the team for future changes. Hopefully his efforts will help diversify the landscape of professional sports in Charlotte.
4. The Bank of America Stadium has proven to be a great hosting stadium
Home to the Carolina Panthers, The Bank of America Stadium, sponsors many other sporting events. This past summer, Charlotte hosted an International Champions Cup between Liverpool FC and AC Milan with great success, drawing a crowd of 69,364 according to the Charlotte Observer. The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup promises to attract an audience of almost 60,000 fans, a number we have never had trouble surpassing the last two times we hosted the Mexico National team, vs Iceland in 2010 in a pre-World Cup friendly and vs Cuba in the 2011 edition of this same tournament.
If this event proves itself successful, then Charlotte should be considered to host other international soccer events. After all, we have proven time and time again that we are ready for it.
5. Soccer Betters the Community
Street Soccer USA has embarked on a remarkable journey to improve the lives of the homeless population in Charlotte. This organization promotes street soccer in urban areas, ultimately establishing a positive environment for underprivileged children and young adults. It is important to utilize sports as a motivation for social change.
“We believe sports can be a primary tool in building safe, healthy communities, where everyone has a place to call home.” As the birthplace for the Homeless USA Cup, Charlotte continues to make a noticeable difference in the lives of underserved youth in the city. This great cause deserves great support.
Clearly Charlotte is a growing soccer city. It offers a plethora of soccer events and opportunities to the local community. Hopefully, with this increased appreciation for the sport, Charlotte will host larger soccer games.
(image via QuePasaNoticias.com)