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UAH men’s soccer team gets unique opportunity in Huntsville City FC pro tournament 

HUNTSVILLE – When the local professional soccer club called UAH to extend an invite for the college team to join the lineup for the preseason Huntsville City FC Blastoff Battle, the Chargers couldn’t accept fast enough.

First, though, among the moving parts of the puzzle UAH had to put into place in order to RSVP, it had to get permission from the NCAA.

Permission granted, the Chargers will face Huntsville City in the tournament Feb. 16. Kickoff is 7 p.m. 

“It was a big shock to us,” Chargers coach John Carrier said. “Good for us. The boys, breaking the news to them – we told them last Friday the situation – they’re obviously very excited.”

The inaugural Blastoff Battle is Presidents Day weekend (Feb. 16 & 18) at the Wicks Family Field at Joe Davis Stadium. UAH was asked to join the field after FC Tulsa’s withdrawal. Other matches are MLS NEXT Pro newcomer Chattanooga FC vs. USL League One’s South Georgia Tormenta FC at 4 p.m. Feb. 16; and UAH vs. Chattanooga at 11 a.m. and Huntsville City FC vs. Tormenta FC at 2:15 p.m. on Feb. 18.

“We are thrilled to welcome the University of Alabama in Huntsville men’s varsity soccer team as their replacement,” said Chad Emerson, Huntsville City FC managing director of business operations. “This addition not only keeps the spirit of the competition alive but also brings a local favorite into the fold, promising an even more exciting and engaging tournament for our fans.

“We are confident that the inclusion of the UAH men’s soccer team will offer a unique and memorable experience for everyone involved.”

For general admission tickets, click here. The $25 general admission weekend passes give fans access to all four matches. The $15 single-day passes provide fans tickets to two matches, either Feb. 16 or 18.

Huntsville City FC will announce a replacement opponent of its originally scheduled March 9 preseason match against UAH at the John Hunt State Championship Soccer Stadium in the upcoming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Chargers are between their 2023 season that ended in November and the 2024 schedule. But the opportunity of playing in the Battle should help the squad in various ways moving forward.

“The players are excited and I don’t think many of them will get this opportunity again,” Carrier, who has been at the UAH helm for six seasons and was a Chargers assistant for three years, said. “You know, some might not be able to play again against a pro team, let alone two pro teams over the space of a weekend.

“It’s a very good tournament and the chance to be able to play in the stadium again in front of fans. It certainly does help us in prep for our next season, but it also helps the program, it helps the university from a recruiting standpoint. If I’m a recruit or if I’m an opposing team watching UAH playing against pro teams, you know, I’d like to think you might want a little bit of that slice of that pie as well. So, it helps in all areas.”

Huntsville City FC will be kicking off their second season in MLS NEXT Pro in March. Details regarding the regular season schedule will be unveiled in the coming weeks. Season tickets are available at MLSNextPro.com/HuntsvilleCityFC/Tickets or by calling 256-864-6426, ext. 2. 

Huntsville City’s preseason schedule, including the Blastoff Battle:

  • Feb. 10, 2 p.m. – Chattanooga Red Wolves* (Wicks Family Field at Joe Davis Stadium)
  • Feb. 16, 7 p.m. – UAH (WFF@JDS)
  • Feb. 18, 2:15 – Chattanooga FC* (WFF@JDS)
  • Feb. 24, 2 p.m. – Birmingham Legion* (WFF@JDS)
  • March 1, 6 p.m. – Tampa Bay Rowdies (Bradenton, Fla.)
  • March 8, 7 p.m. – Atlanta United 2* (WFF@JDS)
  • March 19, 2 p.m. – TBA (John Hunt State Championship Complex)

*Denotes closed-door match 



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