HUNTSVILLE – The countdown has started for the second season of professional soccer in the Rocket City.
Huntsville City Football Club held an offseason press conference Monday at Wicks Family Field at Joe Davis Stadium to announce four returning players for the 2024 MLS NEXT Pro club. Team administrators also had an overview of the club’s first season as well as unveiling the inaugural Huntsville City Soccer Fest in February.
In keeping with the city’s roots, a four-team invitational named the “Blastoff Battle’’ will headline the Fest from Feb. 16-18. HCFC veterans Fernando Ciceron, Isaiah Johnston, Ollie Wright and Azaad Liadi are expected back to spearhead the effort when the team welcomes MLS NEXT Pro’s newest team, Chattanooga FC, along with South Georgia Tormenta FC of USL League One and FC Tulsa of USL Championship for the event.
Matchups and kickoff times will be announced in January. For tickets, visit https://www.mlsnextpro.com/huntsvillecityfc/blastoff-battle.
“We’re super excited to be the anchor tenant,” Chad Emerson, managing director of business operations, said Monday. “We led the team in attendance (in 2023) and just about every positive revenue category you have.”
HCFC is an affiliate of the Nashville Soccer Club of MLS.
“It was a great experience and environment for our players in 2023 and I can’t thank our fans enough for their attendance, their support, and then how loud they were throughout the year,” Liam Doyle, HCFC director of soccer operations. “Our goal is to keep putting out a competitive team year on year and making them proud. I think that we’ve set the standard for the league in terms of fan base and, you know, outreach for our team and we want to continue that into 2024 and beyond.”
Along with the “Blastoff Battle,” a variety of soccer events will take place throughout the city as part of Huntsville City Soccer Fest presented by the Huntsville Sports Commission and Huntsville Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The weekend will include a youth tournament at Merrimack Fields, as well as a high school varsity and junior varsity invitational at the new turf fields at John Hunt Park. There will be a fan engagement opportunity hosted by the UAH men’s soccer team Feb. 17.
“We are thrilled to anchor our community’s inaugural Huntsville City Soccer Fest by hosting the Blastoff Battle Invitational Tournament, an exciting competition featuring four southern teams from the top tiers in the U.S. Soccer system,” Doyle said. “Most importantly, the city’s inaugural Soccer Fest and the Blastoff Battle will help grow our great game by bringing together fans, players at all levels, and the city of Huntsville for a celebration of our sport.”
Huntsville City FC 2024 season tickets can be purchased at MLSNextPro.com/HuntsvilleCityFC/Tickets or by calling 256-864-6426, Ext. 2.