Listen up Birmingham. As many of you know, your humble scribe here at the Birmingham Backline believes that there is no better time to be a soccer fan in the Magic City. Don’t you agree? I mean, you’ve got MLS on TV. La Liga on TV. The English Premier League on TV. Bundesliga, Liga MX, Champions League, and International Soccer. And all of those leagues are great. And all of the teams in those leagues are wonderful. You may even be a long-distant fan for a team or two. But know this Birmingham… yeh, I am talking to you… there is nothing like supporting your hometown club. Say ‘hello’ to your Birmingham Hammers.
So what. The NPSL is “lower level” soccer you say. Who cares?
I care. The Magic City Brigade cares. The boys that put on the red jersey and risk bodily harm for the pride of their city and the hope that this “lower level” team will open up a path to their “higher level” dreams care.
Morgan Copes, John Killian, Evon Noyes, Wade Honeycutt, and Eric Lopez care. They built the Birmingham Hammers from the ground up. Four years ago. Nothing. No soccer club. This week: the opening match to the inaugural NPSL season for your town’s team. Get it? It’s kind of a big deal.
And ‘who is coming to town?’ you might ask yourself. Well – no other than the class of the NPSL, Chattanooga FC. The team from the Scenic City might as well be the New York Yankees of the 4th level of the US Soccer Structure. Or should we call them the Buffalo Bills? (More on that in a bit) They put tons of money into their team. They average more than 4,500 fans at each home match. They’ve made the NPSL Championship Match in 4 of the last 6 years with no hardware to show for it. (Shoutout to Jim Kelly) But they’re hungry. And they eat expansion teams for lunch on a regular basis. Get ready Birmingham. The fighting CFC is coming to town and they are bringing an (almost) sold-out bus of Chattahooligans with them.
The Hammers. Our team. This group of young men clothed in Red and Yellow won’t be easily intimidated. They have grizzled veterans in AJ Adcock and Norris Howze that will maintain composure. They have talent from Julio Noel in the front to the great stopper Pritchard N’Daria in the back. And there is a whole mess of others that are ripe with skills. Our East Tennessee brethren are in for a bit of suprise if they think they will waltz into the SHAC and take home a victory. Indeed, they may just be walking into a buzzsaw of skills and emotion from an organization that has been working towards this day for the last three and a half years.
It’s the Hammers first ever league-sanctioned regular season game. And the SHAC will be rocking. Don’t you want to be a part of that history Birmingham? Get a ticket and come see what it’s all about.
WHO: Hammers vs. Chattanooga FC
WHEN: May 14th (This Saturday) at 7PM CST (Tickets available at the gate:$10)
(4:00 PM The Magic City Brigade is hosting a tailgate party. All are welcome to join. The coolest among you will even bring some beer, chicken, or any other tasty treat to said tailgate. Just veer to the right once you pull into the parking lot. You will see the flags flying and the tables set up.)
WHERE: Sicard Hollow Athletic Complex (Vestavia Hills)
AT STAKE: 3 Points in the NPSL Southeast Conference. If the Hammers want a shot at post-season soccer, they must hold serve in their home matches this season.