Mint City, Chapter by Chapter: Matthews
by Joe Bowling and Grant Fath
“Soccer has been here,” says MCC Matthews member Vaughn Pollman. That sentiment sums up the vibe in the Matthews chapter of the Mint City Collective.
The suburb of Matthews, a quick 20 minute drive from Uptown Charlotte, boasts a small-town feel with the benefit of big time resources.
Matthews is home to the impressive Mecklenburg County Sportsplex (or just the Sportsplex if you’re local), a regional park facility that consists of 9 synthetic turf fields, 2 grass fields, and a 2,500 seat stadium that houses NISA's Stumptown Athletic and USL's Charlotte Independence. Having such a beautiful place to play pickup games and participate in recreational leagues also provides the type of access and atmosphere needed to put fans in the stands at Bank of America Stadium for Charlotte FC’s inaugural season in MLS in 2022.
As is the case with any club, the team will only be as good as its supporters. The people involved with MCC Matthews are a positive indicator that the future is bright for Major League Soccer’s newest franchise. Matthews already has a demonstrated appetite for the game and an eagerness to throw their support behind Charlotte FC. Chapter members across the board take pride in being able to support a team from the very beginning and know that the responsibility is theirs to get things going in a positive direction from the jump.
Optimism and expectations run high.
“I can’t root for a team that I can’t connect with,” says MCC Matthews member Clay Mitchell. “It will be nice to have a hometown MLS team to stake my interest to and make it to where I can actually care if they win or lose.”
“I see nothing but success for this team,” says Scott Rawls, the Chapter Lead for MCC Matthews. “I’m really looking forward to seeing how the town comes together to support this team not only on the field, but within the community as well.”
Rawls says the chapter has plans to be heavily involved in community outreach projects, ranging from organizing cleanup events to various food and clothing drives to support struggling families and individuals in the area.
According to several members of MCC Matthews, they also plan to drink their fair share of beer. When you’re in this neck of the woods, there’s no better place to cut loose than the official chapter bar: Carolina Beer Temple. Several group members say this is where you want to be for a match or any other day of the week, and it doesn’t hurt that they offer a 10% discount on everything they sell to all Collective members. Talk about support!
“I’m extremely excited about Carolina Beer Temple being the support center for the MCC Matthews chapter,” says Scott Wiemeyer, manager of the bar for the last several years and card carrying member of the Mint City Collective. Having grown up in Belgium and a supporter of clubs like Ajax and Anderlecht, Scott knows a thing or two about strong fanbases.
“It’s a no-brainer,” Wiemeyer said. “I look forward to getting creative with MCC Matthews and its members to help grow the presence of the chapter and the bar. I love how militant the people here are in their support of small businesses."
There is a lot going on in Matthews. Soccer is ingrained into this part of the city. All signs point to it becoming a massive engine of Charlotte FC support now and in the future that will carry over strong into the first kick in 2022.
When thinking of building one of the best fanbases in American sports, it might be best to look at it from the perspective of MCC Matthews member Adam Glover: “If Atlanta can do this, why can’t we?”