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Charlotte FC is worth the drive

Charlotte Football Club hosted New York City FC back in May and grabbed a 3-2 win in exciting fashion.

As several fans commented throughout the match, this season for Charlotte FC has been a tough one thus far, with goals coming less frequently than preferred.

Soccer’s popularity is on the rise in the United States and having a Major League Soccer team within driving distance has been a treat for some locals in the Sandhills.

Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers NFL franchise — and, as of last year the Charlotte FC — is just over an hour’s drive from the center of Rockingham.

We caught up with Rockingham resident and avid soccer fan J.R. Cottle about his experience with Charlotte FC.

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J.R. Cottle and son, Kenan, at a Charlotte FC game. Contributed photo

How did you guys get started going to Charlotte FC games?

“We have been season ticket holders since the club’s inception last year. I have always been a big soccer fan and to have an MLS club this close is awesome. Kenan (Cottle’s son) plays soccer and is a big fan as well and loves going to games. I have been around the game forever and love the atmosphere.”

How is the atmosphere?

“I had never been to an MLS game till they came here, but I watched European soccer and wanted to be involved. The atmosphere is electric, the supporters’ section is great with their chants and songs and the soccer games have a different atmosphere than the NFL games. I really enjoy meeting new people and being able to have soccer in common and be able to talk about games all around the world and know what each other is talking about.”

Fans react to a winning goal.

How is getting to and from games? Parking?

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“Getting to and from games is much easier than going to Panthers games. There is tons of parking for $10-$20 within a half-mile of the stadium and getting in and out is a breeze.”

Any recommendations for new fans or people wanting to check out Charlotte FC?

“The best place to sit is at the higher levels, it’s fairly inexpensive tickets and you get a great view up there. You pay less and can see better than the lower level. Go for the 200 level if it’s your first time.”

Charlotte FC is early in their season and have league games through the end of October. Information on tickets can be found at charlottefootballclub.com.

McKinze Gaines crosses the ball into the box for the first goal.
Karol Swiderski whips in free kick resulting in the third and winning goal.
Enzo Copetti heads the ball into the net for Charlotte FC’s second goal of the night.
Members of the Charlotte Football Club team pose for a photo before the game.

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