While speaking at BlazerCon, MLS Commissioner Don Garber discussed why promotion and relegation were something that his league saw in its future, and picked the city of Chattanooga as an example of places that MLS didn't want to send franchises following one poor season. His selection of Chattanooga was a bit odd to begin with, as they're an amateur side playing in the fourth tier of American soccer, and certainly wouldn't be a club demoted sides would see even if pro/rel was in place. It looks even more of an odd, though, when realizing that they're one of the best soccer cities in the United States.
Chattanooga FC plays in a fantastic, new(ish) stadium with one of the most passionate fanbases in the US, and recently brought in over 18,000 fans for the NPSL (fourth division) title match. For what it's worth, that figure is larger than the attendance at any of the USL, NASL, or US Open Cup finals in 2015. After it was pointed out to Garber that he selected a very poor city to pick on, he released the following statement addressing the matter:
"While recently discussing promotion and relegation, I made some inappropriate comments about Chattanooga. I commend all of the soccer fans in Tennessee and the Southeast for their record-breaking support of Chattanooga FC and apologize to the passionate supporters of the club."
Having witnessed the NPSL title match against New York Cosmos B, I can tell you that Chattanooga is an amazing soccer city. I'm almost glad that the Commissioner made such a poor decision in singling them out, as it's been refreshing to see the support for the amateur side all over social media. Hopefully, we'll see CFC moving up the ladder of American soccer soon, as they belong in the discussion of best-run clubs in America. I'm still pulling for Cosmos B to repeat as NPSL champions in 2016, though, even if it's at the expense of Chattanooga.