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HCFC building toward preseason opener

HUNTSVILLE — With just 11 players on the roster, Huntsville City FC is clearly a work in progress.

Especially since the first-year club will play its first preseason match Saturday in Birmingham.

But, that’s a challenge that Head Coach Jack Collison relishes.

“The exciting thing about this job are the challenges,” he said. “We’re going to meet this challenge head on.

“It is what it is.”

After signing 10 players this week, the club will be picking up a few more players, Collison said. And they’re not coming just to fill up a roster.

“We’ll have some academy prospects from Nashville,” he said. “I’m telling them ‘You’re not here just to make up numbers; you’re here to make an impact.’

“It’s a real exciting group. The thing is to try to knit it together.”

Looking toward Saturday’s match with the Legion, he has tampered expectations. Birmingham is a member of USL Championship, a Division II league just below MLS.

“We know what we’ve got,” he said. “Birmingham is an experienced club. It’s going to be a difficult game.

“Hopefully, they’ll use one or two things we’ve learned this week.”

Collison and Liam Doyle, Huntsville City’s director of soccer operations, have been burning the midnight oil – or almost midnight – putting together the club together from scratch. They’ve also been helped by the parent Nashville SC organization.

“The Nashville scouting department is working tirelessly,” Collison said. “They’ve been scouting the college system, top USL talent, international, Canada Premier.

“Myself and Liam are chatting till about 10 or 11 every night.”

The club also had an open tryout last weekend with 100 players showcasing their talents for the staff. Collison said he liked what he saw.

“It was brilliant,” he said. “There was a lot of talent. We have two boys in training with us this week.”

And it all is aimed for the March 26 season opener. The club is working out at the city’s soccer complex at John Hunt Park.

“We’ve been blown a way by the support here,” he said. “The training pitches have been first class. Come March 26, we’re ready to fire on all cylinders.

“Time is tickin’ fast.”





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