"We're Talking About Classic Football" - CFC Women Return On Sunday

Saturday, May 21, 2022
Ana Silva during a recent practice
Ana Silva during a recent practice
- photo by Joseph Dycus

Beata Chako ran down the center of the pitch, marked with a bright-orange jacket and looking to score. A teammate lofted a cross into the penalty box, where Chako intercepted the ball and then scored. Of course, this scene happened in one of Chattanooga FC’s final practices rather than a game, but Chako says fans will enjoy plays like that on Sunday and beyond in games that matter.

 

“We’re talking about classic football,” Chako says, “and we’re going to give it our best, and we promise it’s going to be interesting and great.”

 

After a three-year hiatus, Chattanooga FC’s women’s team will return to action on Sunday when they square off in Nashville against Nashville Rhythm FC.

Chako, who plays forward, will be joined up front by Damaris Gaines. The striker from Georgia Gwinnett college says the difference in strength and technical skill is very noticeable.

 

“I think mostly everyone here is strong and can hold their ground,” Gaines says. “There are smaller players, but if they are small then they’re really skilled. I think it’s really good to play with players like that.”

 

She later added that the team is still getting to know one another, and that it will take time to figure out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. When asked how she would characterize how practices have been going, Gaines says “they’ve been going great.”

 

There’s a slew of local talent on the roster, ranging from UT-Chattanooga alumni such as Delaney Mitchell and Avery Callett, to a trio of Dalton State midfielders including Rocio Carrizales, among others.

 

One of these local standouts is recent Signal Mountain High School graduate and soon-to-be Maryville midfielder Maddie Avery. She says playing with veterans of the game has been a “wakeup call” for her, and she notes the skill gap between her teammates and the average high school player.

 

Like the rest of the team, Avery is ready for the season to start, even if she isn’t quite sure how it will go.

 

“Honestly, I’m not really sure what to expect yet, and I don’t think any of us are sure yet,” Avery says.

 

As Chako and Gaines ran down the middle of the pitch looking for passes during the previously-mentioned drill, Ana Silva was the one launching the passes to teammates. Silva, part of the first ever CFC Academy team in 2012, now wears the same kit as the athletes she once idolized.

“I was super excited. When I was little I played for the academy team, and when I heard about the relaunch, I knew I wanted to give it a try,” Silva says. “When coach Douglas reached out, I was super excited!”

 

One of those players she grew up watching was Katelyn Newsome, who is back with the team. Coach Randy Douglas believes she will be a leader for the team consisting of mostly college athletes.

 

“She’s older, but at the same time her work rate and ability to get into tight spaces and be dangerous have shown in our training sessions,” coach Douglas says. “Someone like her can lead the way.”

 

Because the team will not make their home debut at Finley Stadium until June fourth, supporters who can’t make a trip away will have to wait a couple of weeks to see the team in person. One of their youngest players promises that the team will put in maximum effort as they strive to become one of the best teams in the WPSL.

 

We are all going to work really hard to get to where we want to be,” Avery says.

 

 

 


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