Two days until the ball gets rolling again in the Championship, here’s your Morning Tea for Thursday.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ve got to check out the return to play video from Birmingham Legion FC that came out on Tuesday. Watching this, next Wednesday’s rivalry clash with Memphis 901 FC on ESPN2 can’t get here fast enough.
As tight as the opening sequence is, though, the bigger message delivered by Legion FC President Jay Heaps detailing what the club is aiming to this year – and for the next two years – to thank the club’s season-ticket members is really something.
As you might remember from my colleague Kelsi Steele’s visit to the club’s home opener last year, there’s something pretty special going on with Legion FC and its fans, led by the Magic City Brigade. With everything that professional sports teams are having to weather this year, that bonds that a newer club has built are what will get it through and onto greater success on and off the field.
Birmingham isn’t the only place we’re seeing this. The community efforts at clubs across the Championship and League One during recent months have spoken to the cultures those teams are building in their organizations from top to bottom.
As both leagues get ready to return to play in the next two weeks, those off-field efforts are going to have a permanent effect on the communities these clubs – like Legion FC – call home.
- Having hosted the past three USL Championship Finals, Louisville City FC has gotten its fair share of the national spotlight before. But for Head Coach John Hackworth, Sunday’s opening game at Lynn Family Stadium on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC has a different feel to it.
- LouCity's sibling club in the National Women's Soccer League, which is set to launch next season, grabbed big headlines on Wednesday as Racing Louisville FC was launched to wide acclaim by fans and media. The brand reveal was led by another brilliant design by Matt Wolff, whose work also features in the Championship (Charleston Battery, FC Tulsa) and League One (Union Omaha), and he broke down the process of bringing the newest NWSL member to life with the Athletic's Meg Linehan.
- Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC will get its first taste of national television on Sunday, and Head Coach Bob Lilley thinks it’s a big opportunity for the club to not only measure itself against LouCity as the Hounds kick off their 2020 campaign, but also to add to the local visibility it has created over the past two years.
- In player news, Las Vegas Lights FC bolstered its attack on Wednesday with the announcement it had added Jamaican forward Rashawn Dally on loan from FC Cincinnati. Dally brings Championship experience with him to Las Vegas, having scored once in 12 appearances last year for Memphis 901 FC.
- There’s good news for Tampa Bay Rowdies fans who won’t be among those at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday for the club’s game with Atlanta United 2, with the game now set to be broadcast live across Florida on Fox Sports Sun.
- In more local broadcast news, Indy Eleven announced on Wednesday that 14 of its remaining 15 regular season matches will air on WISH-TV and MyINDY-TV 23, beginning with this Saturday’s home opener at Lucas Oil Stadium against Saint Louis FC.
- Meanwhile out West, El Paso Locomotive FC will see six of its games aired locally with KVIA set to air games on the El Paso/Las Cruces CW, beginning with this Saturday's home game against Rio Grande Valley FC.
- Austin Bold FC is remaining cautious as the Championship season resumes, announcing that it will play its two home games at Bold Stadium in July without fans. Austin is scheduled to face OKC Energy FC on July 17, and FC Tulsa on July 23 as it returns to action.
- There’s a new coach at the helm in Jimmy Obleda, and the opening of CHI Memorial Stadium in the very-near future to look forward to as Chattanooga Red Wolves SC looks to take the next step on the field in USL League One’s second season.
- Sacramento Republic FC is rated a solid 71 percent chance to reach the USL Championship Playoffs out of Group A, but in order to win the group it’s going to have turn around its regular season form against Reno 1868 FC. Indomitable City Soccer’s Alicia Rodriguez took a look at why Sacramento might be able to dominate its group this time around.
- Rio Grande Valley FC heads on the road to face Texas rivals El Paso Locomotive FC on Saturday night, and the Beautiful Game Network’s Carson Merk has a complete look ahead from the Toros’ perspective.