The weather in Louisville, Kentucky has cooled down considerably this week. We even awoke to find (gasp!) snow on the ground. All before Thanksgiving. However, despite the weather cooling, Louisville City FC news is heating up.
The club held a town hall meeting at Against the Grain Brewery, which is inside its home stadium, Louisville Slugger Field. Coach James O’Connor and club President Djorn Buchholz were made available to answer questions from a crowd of around 100 LCFC fans. Here are my notes on the meeting:
(By the way, if you find yourself wondering what Louisville City FC is, you can find my introduction to the club here.)
- O’Connor already has expectations for what his first team will look like on the pitch next spring. He expressed his desire to have a team that can play “attacking, possession-based football” featuring a high pressure system with players that will be able to “win the ball back high up the pitch.” He discussed that he has specific expectations for each role on the team, and if a player doesn’t meet those expectations, the club won’t sign him. However, he lamented the dimensions of the pitch at Slugger Field, particularly its lack of length, and said that it may have an effect on his potential style of play. Will O’Connor be successful in bringing visually pleasing, attacking soccer to LCFC? Will LCFC be able to sign players with the requisite skills to play the O’Connor’s system? The coming weeks will be telling.
- Playing soccer on a baseball field presents “a challenge” to Louisville City. In order to play, the dirt infield and warning track will have to be covered with turf, and the club is seeking out solutions to the problem. The club says that it is looking at a high tech “custom” system where the turf will seam with the existing grass to minimize the effect the turf has on play.
- Buchholz hinted that Louisville City may have already signed a player to a contract, but did not make anything specific known. “We haven’t announced a player signing yet, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t got one under contract,” he said, albeit with a tongue-in-cheek tone. Some significant player news may come out of this weekend’s tryouts and pro combine. Check back here next week in the event something is announced.
- Buchholz expects season ticket sales to surpass 2,000 soon. As for the reagular season, the club hopes to get 7,000-8,000 fans at every home game next year and will cap stadium capacity around that number. Depending on how ticket sales go, the capacity will be raised to around 11,000 for big matches, such as the season opener.
- While no official news will come out about the schedule until after the USL Pro league meetings in Tampa this winter, Buchholz suggested the home opener would come in late March and that LCFC expects to have home games on 10-11 Saturdays next summer. Many scheduling details will have to be coordinated with the main tenant at Louisville Slugger Field, the Louisville Bats, and for the near future the club will not be able to announce anything specific with regards to the regular season schedule, friendly schedule, or U.S. Open Cup schedule.
- When asked about merchandise, Buchholz also said that LCFC has a kit sponsor “locked down” but again didn’t specify anything beyond that. He said that more news in this department would come after Thanksgiving. The club will also be releasing its first official scarf, which incorporates the lyrics “the sun shines bright” from Kentucky’s state song, “My Old Kentucky Home.”
- Earlier this week, the club announced its partnership with Baptist Health Sports Medicine, which also is affiliated with several University of Louisville athletics programs.
— BaptistSportsMedKY (@BaptistSportsKY) November 12, 2014
The coming week has a major event for the club in its tryout and professional combine. It seems likely that we’ll see some player acquisition news, and there will be a full report on the tryouts in next weeks’s column.