Nine games kick off the resumptions of the Championship season over the next three days, including five on national television. Here’s your Morning Tea to get ready.
Of the 11 players that started the opening game in Louisville City FC’s history on March 28, 2015 against Saint Louis FC, only midfielder Niall McCabe can say he’s seen every moment in the club’s on-field history.
So, that might make Sunday’s opening game at the club’s new Lynn Family Stadium all the more memorable for the player who has made more appearances in LouCity’s colors than any other in the USL Championship.
“I’ve just been training hard, and I’m looking forward to it, really,” McCabe told media on Thursday. “It’s going to be the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people, so for sure it will be a special time. It’s important for us to make sure we win and make it memorable.”
McCabe has appeared 139 times for LouCity over the past five seasons in the Championship’s regular season and playoffs, with additional appearances coming in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Alongside him on Sunday could be fellow midfielder Magnus Rasmussen, who was also in the lineup for that opening game at Slugger Field five years ago and scored the first goal in club history in a 2-0 win.
A stint away from Louisville for a year in his native Denmark left McCabe as the lone player to appear in every season for LouCity, and while players like George Davis IV, Paolo DelPiccolo, Oscar Jimenez and Sean Totsch have also carved their names into the club’s history, the work ethic and talent that McCabe has shown has made him maybe the heartbeat of the club.
“I think, for Niall, this is just part of his path here at Louisville City,” LouCity Head Coach John Hackworth said. “He has seen it all. He’s done it all, and he is very proud of this moment, opening Lynn Family Stadium.”
With the national television spotlight sending the game across the United States on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, and throughout North America on SiriusXM FC, the expectations are high for the hosts to perform.
Given the new stage they’ve been provided in the $65 million venue, McCabe believes everyone is going to be ready.
“I really think it’s just that kind of next level of professionalism," he said. "It’s a world-class facility, and when you’re in and around that environment, it kind of just gives you that extra feeling of this is what professional football should be like.”
Proud to share the news that this weekends @loucityfc v @RiverhoundsSC match will be the @USLChampionship’s first ever triple cast...— Court Jeske (@CourtJeske) July 10, 2020
See/ hear everyone at 5:00ET as we make history @ Lynn Family Stadium pic.twitter.com/pCaxKdiJ5T
- As alluded to above by USL Executive Vice President Court Jeske, Sunday’s opening game at Lynn Family Stadium is going to be historic for the Championship, with the first tricast in league history seeing the game carried on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and SiriusXM FC across the United States.
- USL President Jake Edwards said he believes the opening of Lynn Family Stadium is going to be a look into the future for the USL as well as a watershed moment for LouCity, and provide a live experience for fans and viewers that will be among the best at any soccer-specific stadium in the United States at any level.
- Lynn Family Stadium’s opening might welcome the grandest venue in the Championship’s history so far, but there have been numerous steps along the way to this moment. Ahead of Sunday’s game, we took a look back at other major stadium openings that have marked the Championship’s growth.
- The Athletic’s Jeff Rueters has a great guide to 16 players you should be watching this season in the Championship, including some notable young players like San Antonio FC’s Jose Gallegos that have already been drawing a spotlight this year.
- Kobi Henry recently became the latest U.S. Youth International to join the professional ranks with Orange County SC. The Beautiful Game Network’s Carson Merk caught up with the U.S. U-17 defender to talk about his decision to head West after most recently being part of the Inter Miami CF academy.
- Did you know that six players that came through the Sueño Alianza program are now playing for clubs in the USL Championship and League One? Find out who, and how you can register to be seen by scouts during this year’s tour.
- One player that is ready to shoot his shot this season is Hartford Athletic’s Alfonso Vazquez. I caught up with the 18-year-old recently to talk about his unconventional path to a professional contract, and what it might mean for Hartford’s youth development advances in the next few years.
- Real Monarchs SLC has a new jersey partnership with MarketStar as they return to action on Saturday. The detail you should closely at, though, is the sweet Wasatch Legion sleeve patch that also adorns the defending title-holders' jerseys.
- Things might feel slightly different for the Tampa Bay Rowdies when they resume play on Saturday, but Head Coach Neill Collins says there are more similarities than you might expect even with the Health and Wellness Protocols that have been put in place.
- The delay to the return to action has been far longer than players like the Charlotte Independence’s Enzo Martinez was expecting. Martinez and his teammates are eager to build on what was a good road victory back in March when they return to play.
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