All posts by Matt Swift

We Are Charlotte Football Club

It’s Official! We are Charlotte Football Club

 

Love it or hate it, this is us. This, my friends, is our club.

We have had to wait quite a while on this announcement, but here we are. We have the name, we have the branding, and the rest, as they say, is history. It’s so exciting!

2020 has not been a great year, so to have this now, to see the name, to see the branding, is truly uplifting. I realize it’s just a name, I know its just soccer but to have waited on this for over 25 years is genuinely moving.

So, what do we think of the name Charlotte FC?

What do we think of the colors?

What do we think of the logo(s)?

 

Crest: Inspired in equal parts by Charlotte’s heritage and it’s future, our club crest is a badge of belonging to a city on the rise

Crown: The centerpiece, a four-point crown, representing the four original wards coming together as one to celebrate the royal legacy behind our city’s name

Type: An engraving-style typeface set in a bold black and white palette creates a unified balance of both contemporary and historical references.

Minted 2020: Also meaning “freshly made” commemorates the inaugural year of the club and new era for Charlotte soccer.

 

I have to say; I love everything about this. The name and crest are both classic and will hold up over time.

I assumed the colors would be very close to the Panthers, so I’m very pleased they went with that.

The secondary logo is terrific too and my hope is that the 3rd kit will have that as the main feature.

I was also extremely pleased with the roll-out video. Per usual, Ryan Bailey and Tiffany Blackmon did a fantastic job. I have thoroughly enjoyed their work. With little to no Team news coming out, those two have been a beacon of light, and I genuinely applaud them.

I’m sure it has not been easy on the Charlotte FC marketing team this year, trying their damnedest to roll this out. Between a global pandemic and racial tensions erupting into the streets, the announcement has been postponed numerous times, leaving people frustrated. “Soon” became the annoying phrase tossed out as fans waited for months in painstaking anticipation.

We all also just got the frustrating news that the Team will now start in 2022 instead of 2021. But, we should all cut the Team a little bit of slack and show some grace. I’m sure this experience was just as frustrating for them as it was for us.

I, for one, couldn’t be more thrilled and genuinely thankful that we have a team. I’ve never lived somewhere and have gone through this type of experience. I never truly thought we would get a team.

I love this sport so much, and to get awarded a new team and experience this all from the beginning is absolutely thrilling.

In closing …

I’m just really emotional right now. Again, I’ve waited so long for this. I can’t wait to share this with my friends. I can’t wait to tailgate with everyone. I can’t wait to go to the matches. I can’t wait to share that first win. I can’t wait until we are all together.

I already love this Team with all my heart. We are Charlotte Football Club!

 

“Our name is Charlotte Football Club,
but we are bigger than one city.

We were born an expansion team.
We don’t believe in starting small.

We only know how to go big.

To play big, it takes all of us.

If you love the beautiful game, you belong here.

If you call the Carolinas home, you belong here.

We are made of North and South.
We come from around the world.

We play as one.”

Update: Charlotte MLS Now To Start In 2022: Zoom Call with Tom Glick

In light of the recent announcement that Charlotte’s first season will now be pushed back to 2022, Tom Glick was gracious enough to get on a Zoom call with the Mint City Collective this morning to offer a little more insight into that decision and what to expect moving forward.

Below are most of the topics covered on the call.

Austin FC playing in 2021: Austin, having a year-up on us, has everything ready to go, so the league thought it best to go ahead and bring them on in 2021. I have been following them for a while now, and I can say that they seem so far ahead of us in all aspects, so I think this is the right decision.

Sacramento & St. Louis: There have been some significant stadium construction concerns, and the league felt it best to give them more time.

Charlotte MLS 2022: Glick said the decision to move to 2022 is beneficial as it will provide the Team more time to get all of our affairs in order. With this delay, we will now be the only Team coming into the league in 2022. We won’t have to compete with anyone in the NCAA and Expansion Drafts as we would have with Austin next year. It will be all eyes on us in 2022!

Team branding/name announcement: We are still on for 7/22- there could be some more announcements today or tomorrow (presumably more teasing of the name or marking names off)

Coaching hire: This will now be more likely next summer. They do have a short-list of candidates. Glick said that they might lose 1 or 2 by next summer, but he feels that most will still be available and ready.

DP Player Signing: Glick said that they are focused on young players. We could see a player signing this summer, yet it’s more likely to come in January and next summer. Those players once signed, will then go out on loan until we kick-off in 2022.

Sergio Ruiz: Glick said that Sergio had six other clubs interested in him before he signed with us, but those teams couldn’t afford the transfer fee. There are now a dozen interested in him. Ruiz will soon go out on loan, and that Team will pay his wages until we kick-off in 2022. The decision on where he will go will probably be determined around the middle of August.

Eastland Mall/HQ: Other than COVID delaying construction, the Eastland Mall HQ is still a go. The Team will have a temporary HQ until they move into their new space in 2023.

Stadium Renovations: This has also been slowed due to the global pandemic, but what they want to achieve should be ready by 2022. Those changes include; new locker rooms, new supporters section, middle walkout/tunnel club, and brand new, west end-zone suites.

Season tickets: In September, we should see movement on season tickets and the start of seat selection. No, PSL’s was not brought up.

Academy: Glick met with all the families Friday night. They will start training on July 27th. The U-17’s are a big focus and by the time 2022 rolls around, we may even see some of these lads on the 1st Team!

Shared Space with the Panthers: Glick also touched on game day experience and making sure the stadium reflected the MLS Team during game days and said that they are making sure signage and the overall feel of the stadium will reflect the MLS team.

What Is The Mint City Collective?

Charlotte landing an MLS team has indeed been a dream come true, something I never imagined would happen.

With most cities receiving a team, supporter groups are conceived and developed along the way. Even without an official name and branding, Charlotte has been no different. Several groups have already been established, and I’m certain there will be more to follow once the name and branding are announced.

Now, I must admit. I had no sincere interest in joining a supporter’s group. I was merely thrilled to have a team, and honestly, I have always liked to do my own thing at games, experiencing matches the way I want. I’ve never been a flag-flying, drum-beating, chanting sort of fan. I prefer to study and analyze the game, talk to myself like a lunatic, drink my beers in peace, and tell the friend next to me how I could do a better job of coaching. I don’t particularly prefer to watch games behind the goal (that’s typically where supporter groups stand) plus, I’m a shockingly awful singer, and my 41-year-old knees can’t take jumping up and down for 90 minutes. Needless to say, that while the concept of having supporter groups for the team is exciting, I didn’t believe it was for me.

However, last summer, when Arsenal and Fiorentina came to town to play, and Charlotte hosted a Fan Fest in Rearden Park; one group started to pique my interest. It was some folks running around calling themselves the Mint City Collective.

I quite liked the name Mint City Collective, and I loved their color choice and the logo. I also began seeing the Mint City Collective name pop up on my social media feeds. They seemed surprisingly well organized and appeared to have a lot of interesting things going on. As I looked further into what they were all about, I was impressed with what they had created and the thought behind it all.

I have since become a member.

Being in a supporter’s group is not all about singing and raising hell at games; I mean, it’s some of that, sure. But, it’s mostly about fellowship, camaraderie, and celebrating a shared passion. I see this group as something positive, which can be utilized to support our team, promote Charlotte, and help the community.

This group is where if you like soccer, you are welcome with open arms, regardless of your background, regardless of your soccer IQ.

I’m really excited to be a part of this and if you are thinking about joining a supporter’s group, we would love to have you!

 

So, What Is The Mint City Collective?

Where did the name, color, and logo come from?

 

Mint City: Inspired by our history as the site of the first gold rush and the first U.S. Mint in the south. “Mint City” is a nod to the pioneering spirit and economic industries forged in the city.

Collective: All together for one common goal. Charlotte has attracted people from all over the world to live, play and work in our city. While we come from unique backgrounds, we share a mutual passion for the game of soccer.

Logo/Crest: Protect the nest- The shield and eagle design is inspired by the “C” coin, which was produced at the Charlotte branch of the U.S. mint. The interwoven pattern reflects the rich history of the textile industry in our area while alluding to the integrated and connected community that strengthens Mint City Collective.

“The Mint City Collective believes in the passion for soccer in Charlotte and its ability to forge a strong cultural bond in our community. We look to build, connect, collaborate, and inspire our community. “

 

What You Get When You Join?

As a Day Zero member, you will be one of the first to support the Mint City Collective. Your initial Day Zero membership will be good until January of the first year the team plays.

Once you become a member, you get invited to the Mint City Collective Slack Channel, which is an excellent way to chat with like-minded folks who want to talk about all things soccer from the English Premier League to the Bundesliga to the U.S. National Team. If you are a big fan of the FIFA games, there is even a league within the group that you can join (someone is always wanting to play).

If you would like to join up- follow the link below:

https://mintcitycollective.com/collections/memberships

There are currently two Membership packages

  • Silver Membership Package: $30.00
    • Every silver member will receive a Day Zero membership shirt and sticker to proudly display that they were part of the community movement that helped bring the MLS to Charlotte. This exclusive ‘Day Zero’ swag will only be available for a limited time – once the team is here, Day Zero becomes Day One.
    • Your membership lasts from the day you sign up until an MLS team arrives in Charlotte.
    • Access to Mint City Collective exclusive events, including tailgates, gatherings, and much more!
    • A numbered membership card showing just how early you supported bringing MLS home
  • Gold Membership Package – $200-  ONLY 150 Available!
    • Every gold member will receive a Day Zero membership shirt and sticker to proudly display that they were part of the community movement that helped bring the MLS to Charlotte – plus a ton of other mint gear, including the EXCLUSIVE ‘Day Zero’ kit! This, and the rest of the exclusive ‘Day Zero’ swag, will only be available for a limited time – once the team is here, Day Zero becomes Day One
    • Your membership lasts from the day you sign up until an MLS team arrives in Charlotte.
    • Access to Mint City Collective exclusive events, including tailgates, gatherings, and much more!
    • A numbered membership card showing just how early you supported bringing MLS home

Local Chapters

Want to get together in your part of town to watch a game? Join a rec league? Run a race? Just get a beer?  The Mint City Collective also has local chapters that you can join!

Below is a list of current chapters. If you are interested in starting your own or helping a friend start one, let us know in the MCC Members Slack and we’ll get you all the guidelines, suggestions, and help that we can.

Here is a list of current chapters: https://mintcitycollective.com/pages/chapters

 

Podcasts

There are also currently two MCC Podcasts that you can listen to if you would like to get caught up on things and learn a little more about the group.

 

Blog

We also have a great Blog page, written by various members on numerous topics pertaining to the team. Do you have a passion for writing? We are always looking for fresh ideas and new perspectives!

https://mintcitycollective.com/blogs/news

Sweet Merchandise

If you get a chance, check out the merchandise page. This gets updated often, and once you are a member, you can request items that you would like on the Slack Channel.

Merchandise

Get Social

Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

 

Joining the Mint City Collective won’t make you more of a fan; it doesn’t make you better than anyone else. It’s a group formed by people like yourself that are just super excited about our new franchise.

There are also other supporter groups you can join, so I would take a look around and see which one you think best suits you.

If you want to be a part of the Mint City Collective, come join in. I’ll be there. Or don’t join. That’s perfectly fine too! We can still be friends.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Cheers!

 

Make Your Own Luck

Luck is such an odd concept. We all think we know what it is but all have very different interpretations of what it actually means. Is luck circumstantial or is it constitutional? Is luck something truly out of our control or something we can manipulate? No matter your beliefs we tend to put ourselves into one of two camps … we either consider ourselves lucky or unlucky.

I used to be in the “unlucky” camp. My life was a shit-storm of nonsense, and every time I turned around I was whacked in the face with some unfortunate turn of event that kept my life spiraling out of control. I remember being so resentful about it and utterly dumbstruck by just how unlucky I always seemed to be. Crap was constantly happening to me, and I could not, for the life of me, figure out why.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was, of course, all my fault. I kept feeding the beast by unknowingly focusing on the bad things. Hell, even when something good did happen to me, I would think to myself; “it’s about damn time!” or think, “well … I’m sure something bad will happen now.”

My shit-show of existence got to a point that one day I simply sat down with a notepad and attempted to fix it all. I began by listing out all the bad things that had happened to me, which was super easy to do. But when I started listing out the good, I had to force myself, truly force myself to do so. This is when I had a moment of clarity. This is where I figured out that my luck … or that me being unlucky … was just my mindset. Why was it so easy to list out the bad things and so difficult to write out the good things? I found that it was my mentality. It was my behavior. It was what I focused on. Being unlucky had become my paradigm … my way of life.

As I was doing this quasi life audit, I realized that when I was “unlucky” I had actually put myself in those positions. When good things had happened to me, I had also put myself in those positions.

I became fascinated by the concept of luck and started to read up on the subject. This is where I found that everyone had a different opinion on the matter, and again, it reinforced my notion that it really is up to you for what you want it to be. You can bend it to your will.  While I was reading a few articles, I stumbled upon this quote that struck me like a bolt of lightning:

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

Indeed.  I decided that I would have to work on building my own luck and that over timeI could swing the paradigm from being unlucky to lucky.

I’ve always liked to be in control of things, which is why I suppose I don’t put much stock in astrology, tarot card readers, psychics, evangelicals, or drunken train hobos. I’ve never liked to rely on other people or the stars to tell me of my destiny. 

 

Over time, I’ve learned that you can turn your luck around and dig yourself out of a hole … that you can truly turn from being unlucky to lucky. I know this because I have done it. And I did it by embracing this mantra: “Make Your Own Luck.” That’s why when I saw this banner from Pointer and Pine I had to have it. I’ve also taken that Thomas Jefferson’s quote to heart.  When you work hard and put yourself in good positions, good things will happen to you.

I have seen a massive difference in my life since embracing this mindset and could kick my own ass for being such a little bitch about “luck” in the past.

I will say, that since this discovery, I no longer have time for people that claim to be unlucky, or for individuals that get pissy at someone else’s good fortune. These are the people that complain constantly about everything under the sun, and not surprisingly, they don’t have a lot going for them. These are also the same people that when you try to help them, they don’t want to hear it. No, they would rather wallow in self-pity. I think these people bother me so much because I was once like them and I don’t want to ever go back to it.

I roll my eyes when someone mentions Mercury being in retrograde (whatever the hell that means) and that the stars are somehow responsible for things being bad or chaotic. I just don’t buy it. Sure, things are going to come off the rails.  Sure,  bad things are going to happen to you. Sure, there will be circumstances that seem unlucky, but when things are not going well, and when bad things are happening,  you fix them. You have put yourself in a different position. You can’t wait for someone to do it for you, and you sure as shit shouldn’t wait until the stars and planets are aligned “correctly.”  You have to take action and get yourself adjusted and in position, for fortuitous things to happen to you.

You make your own luck. Period.

Uncle Pep’s

 

Uncle Pep’s

I am always fascinated by how small businesses are created. I’m intrigued by the process, the strategy and thought behind it,  the branding.  I’m especially intrigued when I see a dear friend of mine going through that process.

Starting a  business is never easy.  It comes with hurdles and unforeseen pitfalls that can quickly stifle a dream. It takes special willpower and nerves of steel to go after your passion. I’ve watched my friend go after his passion vigorously and have been really impressed by the way he has been steadfast throughout this whole process. I’ve seen him deal with issues that I would have never dreamt of while going through this whole ordeal. He never gave up on getting this thing launched and I couldn’t be prouder of him. That is why I wanted to share with you a little bit about his journey,  and through some Q&A below, allow you to get to know Uncle Pep’s and how it all came to be.

What Is Uncle Pep’s?

Uncle Pep’s is a premium cocktail mix company, offering up two styles of Bloody Mary Mix (“The O.G.”  and “Spicy”) and also a Brunch Punch for all of you mimosa lovers.

I’ve tried both Bloody Mary mixes. What I like about this mix is it doesn’t taste processed, it tastes like I was at a 5-Star restaurant getting a fresh squeezed mix from a mixologist. My preference is the Spicy option. The hint of pepper that just slightly stings the nostrils and gives you that kick in the ass that you need from a Bloody Mary to get your morning back on track is exactly what this mix delivers.

The Brunch Punch, well … I can drink the whole jar in a day with or without liquor, it’s that refreshing. It’s not your typical mimosa it’s a bit less sweet and more full on citrus. Again, that fresh squeezed homemade feeling.


But I want you to know a little more about Uncle Pep’s.

I got the opportunity to ask my friend some questions that I thought all you guys would want to know.

I hope you enjoy!

Q & A


Q: What made you want to start Uncle Pep’s? Why cocktail mix?

A: Life is full of surprises! I’ve always had a strong passion for Bloody Mary’s. I’m the guy that either makes all the Bloody Mary’s at a party or takes an hour to build-my-own Bloody Mary bar. I’m fascinated by the garnishes. The problem though, are the mixes. The store mixes offer either a watered-down mess or a salt bomb! Nothing is FRESH! I wanted to give other Bloody Mary fanatics a new option. A Bloody Mary mix that was fresh-pressed with hand-picked ingredients and a natural flavor. No tomato pastes or outrageous sodium levels. Fresh ingredients only! I know the canning process so I said why not! I literally bought a juicer and started experimenting with fresh vegetables and spices until I found the right blends. And for those that aren’t Bloody Mary fans, we also created a “Brunch Punch” which is our play on the famous mimosa cocktail. Again, we hand-pick our fruit and fresh-press our ingredients into every jar. My “test” market was friends and family for about a year. I wanted honest feedback and I ended up with repeat texts and calls asking for more! I believed I had something here so I took the next steps to turn this idea into a business. 

Q: Who in the hell is Uncle Pep?

A: So Uncle Pep was my grandma’s brother. His name was Peter but my grandma called him “Peppy” as a kid. That was shortened to “Pep” as he grew up. Uncle Pep was a bad ass! He was a WWII vet and a merchant marine on the American cargo ship “Robin Moor” which would become the first U.S. merchant ship to be sunk by a German submarine – six months before the United States entered WWII. Uncle Pep took a secret photo of the U-boat that was one of the most sensational of WWII and caught worldwide headlines. He snapped the picture from a lifeboat in the open sea, minutes after the submarine had torpedoed the ship. The original photo is in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., along with a letter of appreciation from then-Secretary of State Cordell Hull. I was fortunate to hear all about his life on the sea but I also was able to learn a ton from him. His passions included canning everything! He made his own dandelion wine (similar to white wine), peppers and all types of canned vegetable and fruit juices. He was a master at it! It really is a childhood memory of mine that led to what is now also my passion.

Q: How difficult was it to launch your brand?

A: I have so much respect for small business owners after going through this process myself. It requires a lot of dedication and determination to turn an idea into a business. I had no clue what I would have to go through in order to get this off the ground. There were many times that I felt overwhelmed and wanted to throw in the towel rather than continue to fight. The passion I have for this however helped me push through the difficult times. I’ve learned a ton and I know I will have to continue to grind, but it will be worth it at the end of day. I tell people this all the time: If it was easy to do, everyone would be doing it. 

Q: Was there anything during this process that surprised you or you didn’t anticipate?

A: I knew at some point that if I wanted to sell my mixes then I had to make sure they would be safe to consume. I did not know how intense that process would be. If you are considering doing any type of food or beverage related business, be sure to study up! I had to take (3) certification courses, several training courses and pay for multiple shelf life testing from food laboratories. My six month plan of “idea to product” was way off! That was the biggest and most expensive obstacle that I have had to face so far. Also, at some point I knew the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had to get involved. Imagine having your business investment in total control of someone else. That’s how I felt when the FDA inspected my commercial kitchen space to watch me, from start to finish, make my mixes. It was such an intense moment for me. The inspector said nothing the whole time and just wrote notes on a pad of paper. Thankfully I passed. What a relief! 

Q: What have you learned from this experience

A: I am still learning, but the most important thing I have learned so far is to not quit! You are going to encounter bumpy roads and you’ll need to stay the course. There is A LOT of red tape. Don’t let it scare you. That’s what I’ve done up to this point. I’m a business owner which sounds so weird to say, but also pretty damn gratifying. I haven’t studied this much since college. Although it’s a different type of studying because a fail can lead to such a setback that your business may not recover. My advice? If you have a passion, go for it! Life is too short to hide in the rat race. 

Q: What are the next steps for Uncle Pep’s?

A: So we are still an early stage startup company. I will admit that the next obstacle of ours is to get our brand out to the masses. Currently we are only available through our online store however we are hoping to reserve space at local farmers markets in Charlotte, NC, this summer. We hope to share more through social media and our website after the COVID-19 madness settles. Be sure to follow and like us on both Facebook and Instagram! 

 

The Famous Uncle Pep

Right now, they are currently offering BOGO 1/2 OFF on their website- no coupon needed-discount is applied at checkout: https://unclepepsmix.com.

They are delivering anywhere in the U.S. and let’s face it, everyone could use a cocktail while we are all cooped up at home!

Uncle Pep's

Thank you so much for reading, everyone.  Be sure to follow Uncle Pep’s journey through their Social Media channels:

https://www.facebook.com/unclepepsmix

https://www.instagram.com/unclepepsmix/

Husk: Charleston, SC

 

“If it ain’t Southern, it ain’t coming in the door,” – Sean Brock

 

Brunch, lunch or dinner, Husk delivers every time. Make a reservation and get in there anyway you can, you won’t regret it.


My expectations of going into Husk was one of excitement, but I was more than a little apprehensive about how good the food would actually be. The novelty of Husk has surely faded, the limelight and praise from magazines and Sean Brock (the owner) being on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown is a thing of the past.

There are also four locations now. Four locations? Doesn’t that make it a chain restaurant? Won’t that dilute everything?

Going in I thought sure, this will be fun but not mind-blowing. It would be yet another solid Southern restaurant.  Sometimes, it’s hard to live up to the hype. Sometimes you’re just not sure what all the fuss is about … why so many people are talking about it. If you are like me, you can build something up in your head that can never live up to reality.

I really wanted to like Husk, but as I sat down and waited for my food to arrive I was waiting to be disappointed.

I never was …


Walking up to Husk you see a two-story white home that looks  something like a colonel era hotel. You can imagine Rhett Butler drinking a mint julep and smoking a cigar on the second story balcony .  As you walk through the black iron gates, a towering magnolia canopy looms overhead. Making your way to the doorstep you pass a small garden and fountain brimming with flowers. You are quickly transported to another era. It’s quintessential Charleston in every sense of the word.

The inside of the house is open and welcoming, with beautiful pine flooring, fireplaces, and multiple rooms for people to dine. It’s rustic, yet charming.

The chalkboard at the bottom of the staircase lets you know who the good folks are that are responsible for what will soon be on your plate. Local farmers and fishermen (add more here)

On the surface, Husk is everything southern … an establishment with a passion and zeal for selling the romantic south, hard.

Servers are dressed in denim shirts with full-length grey aprons.  I can’t speak for dinner, but during our brunch, the atmosphere was calm and pleasing.

We were seated upstairs but inside as it was cold on the day we went.  However, when the weather is nice and warm there is a patio balcony where couples can dine outside.


Time To Eat

The great thing about Husk is that their menu is always changing so you can have a different experience each time you go. The changes with what the region’s producers provide daily, but there are some rules about what can go on the plate. If it doesn’t come from the South, it’s not coming through the door.

Personal Touch

Our weekend in Charleston was a celebration of Valentine’s Day and my birthday. And if you know me, I like to make a big deal out of it every year. My wife has kindly obliged me on this over the years, and with every activity and restaurant planned she strived to make it especially, special. When she made the reservation, she let Husk know it was for my birthday, and they took it to the next level. We live in a society that loves customization, and it no more present than in the South where anything that can be monogrammed, is monogrammed. Another perfectly Southern touch that didn’t go unnoticed was this happy birthday at the top of the menu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bloody Mary to Start

Bacon and bloody mary’s are a dime a dozen, but have you tried prosciutto? Down home Southern and elegance is felt throughout the establishment and the theme continued with the food. The salty brine of the prosciutto married with the picked jalapeño and fresh tomato mix made this for a smooth intro to the meal after a night of sipping wine with my wife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herbed Cheddar Cat Head Biscuits, Smoked Black Pepper Bacon Gravy, Pepper Mash

The true testament of another Southern restaurant is biscuits and gravy. You can’t survive without a solid ode to this classic brunch dish. The ultimate test of good biscuits and gravy – the need for a nap shortly there after. It was a long 3 hour drive home to Charlotte. Fresh-made biscuits were doused in a well-balanced gravy that had the perfect amount of heat. Another sign of great gravy, you find yourself embarrassingly scrapping the bowl for every last drop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joyce Farm’s Pork Spareribs, Sweet Baby Dave’s Brown Sugar BBQ, Heirloom Field Peas, Fried Egg

Fall off the bone, finger licking good is the sign of a good sparerib, but this was an exceptional spare rib. Admittedly, I wanted more. The sauce tasted like a sweet crime, I wanted to commit over and over again. The field peas with their earthy and unassuming presence brought me back, making a true balance of the dish. I am licking my lips as I write this, as I could go another round here and now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pork Rind “Churros,” Spiced Chocolate Sauce

I am a born and raised Southern man, and wasn’t raised on the finer side of the street so cheap and delicious pork rinds were a staple of life – any road trip, you could bet a stop at the gas station for a bag was in tow. So here I am, thinking how can you make pork rinds fancy? Well, shit you add some Mexican chocolate and it was a whole other world for me. First, these pork rinds were so fresh out of the frier that they were cracklin with every bite. My wife and I kept giggling as we crunched down on each one. This was truly a match made in heaven, I never knew could exist. That’s the very magic that Chef Brock brings to the table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood-fired funnel cake! Served with preserved FL strawberries, Celeste’s ricotta, black walnut, & basil

My wife, who’s a bona fide foodie and spent 8 years of her life rubbing elbows with top chefs in a former career, including Sean Brock, exclaimed “It tastes like a breezy summer morning. The dish is innocent, like a young child smelling fresh strawberries in the field for the first time. The basil brings the sophistication and ricotta the balance.” Now let me tell you, my wife rarely selects sweet dishes over savory, but the pull from this one was much too tempting and she happily caved in.

 

 

 

 

 


Verdict

It’s hard to live up to the hype. It’s easy to coast on trendy sentiment and romantic Southern culture, but Husk was everything I thought it would be and more. From the creative menu, to the ambiance to the food itself, it blew me away and we can’t wait to go back.

Charlotte MLS: What We Know So Far

When the MLS announced Charlotte would be the 30th team I was overjoyed and couldn’t believe the day had finally come. I assumed we wouldn’t start playing until 2022, or even 2023, but when it was revealed that we would be starting play in 2021 I was extremely shocked and a tad concerned. Make no mistake, that is really soon. When you stop and consider all things needing to happen between now and March 2021, it seems crazy and overwhelming.

At the time of writing this, we now have less than 11 months until the start of the 2021 season. That’s 11 months to finalize a logo and color scheme, hire directors, a coaching staff, scout/draft/buy players to fill our roster, complete stadium renovations, get/announce our kits, find/build a headquarters, find/build practice facilities, finalize ticket pricing and sell season tickets. Did I mention that we don’t even have a team name yet?

To put things into perspective, Austin FC who will be also joining the league in 2021 has had an extra year to get their affairs in order and build out their organization. They were announced on January 15th, 2019.

The key will be getting the right personnel quickly …  individuals that have the experience. This has to run smoothly as we don’t have a lot of time built in for things to come off the rails. I keep thinking about Cinncinatti with all of their problems and also Nashville with their stadium issues.

There are a lot of tasks to do in a short amount of time, so buckle up buttercup … you bought the ticket … now it’s time to take the ride.

There are a lot of great articles and podcasts out there already that cover most of the events and dealings with the team, but I thought it would be helpful to try and put it all in one place to make it easier to digest.


Here’s is a rough outline of when we should see team announcements

Here Is What We Know So Far


David Tepper:

Bought the Franchise for $325 million

*A note on David Tepper and how owning an MLS Franchise works:

There is a misconception that David Tepper owns the new MLS team.  MLS teams don’t have owners in the classic sense,  they have Investor-Operators. MLS Investor-Operators are all financially invested in the same business entity,  Major League Soccer, LLC.   They all made their initial investment into the LLC, and they all receive a  share of the profits if the MLS generates a profit, or they can write off their share of the losses, should MLS lose money in a given year.

Being an investor in Major League Soccer entitles you to operate one of the teams owned by the league. Investor-Operators are entitled to earn certain revenues directly. This can include getting revenue from selling local broadcast rights, merchandise sold inside of the stadium, local sponsor partnerships, and all the general parking and stadium revenue. Certain items do require the Investor-Operator to send a portion of their revenue to MLS, such as 30% of ticket sales and between 25% and 44% of the money earned through player transfer fees. MLS directly takes all revenue from national broadcast rights, league-level sponsorships (like Adidas), and online merchandise sales.

I could write 50,000 words on the pros and cons of running the league like this, but I will save that for another time.


Season Starts:

March 2021  (Nashville SC played their first game this season on February 29th)

Our new team will play around 34 regular season matches * this may change slightly* (around 17 home matches and 17 away matches). The season will run roughly from March until October, with playoffs ending in November.

 

*Update*:  With the coronavirus scare, MLS has now suspended play for 30 days. This comes after teams have only played 2 matches. Hopefully, the season can get back on track but if this crisis continues I’m not sure of the short-term and long-term effects this will have on the teams, the league or even next season.


Team Sponsor:

Ally Bank


Team Name: Spring announcement

(These  are the names that have been put forward)

Charlotte FC

Charlotte Athletic FC

Charlotte Crown FC

Charlotte Fortune FC

Charlotte Monarchs FC

Charlotte Town FC

Carolina Gliders FC

All Carolina FC

I would be ok with just the bland Charlotte FC but could go in for Charlotte Crown FC or maybe Charlotte Town FC


Team Logo: Spring Announcement

As long as we don’t have the folks that worked on the Chicago Fire rebrand we should be ok here.

*edit: It is the people that worked on the Chicago Fire rebrand…

 

 

 

However, they also worked on Miami’s brand so all hope is not lost!

 

 

 


Team Colors: Spring Announcement

It will be very interesting to see if they follow the Carolina Panthers color palette or go a whole different route. I think it would be simpler to keep with the Panthers’ color scheme from a branding perspective, and with the color scheme of the stadium, it would be easier to keep it similar.


Kit Release: Fall 

The timeline says Fall 2020, but trust me … there will be plenty of leaked kit posts leading up to the actual release. We do know is that Adidas will be the manufacturer. In 2017, MLS and Adidas agreed to a six-year deal to be the official apparel supplier for the league, its clubs, and their affiliated youth programs. Though financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, the total value is $700 million according to a source with knowledge of the agreement. The six-year term runs through 2023, meaning MLS will be able to negotiate its next league apparel partnership ahead of the start of the 2026 World Cup.

 

Update:

Again, with the coronavirus scare, the announcement of the team name and logo have been pushed back. There were rumors they were really close to announcing (mid-March) but with everything going on, it looks more like April-ish.


The Competitions We Will Participate In:

Ryan Bailey (who has been writing articles for the official Charlotte MLS website and who you really need to follow on Twitter @RyanJayBailey)  has a great article that outlines all the competitions that our new team will be included in next year.

  • U.S. Open Cup
  • CONCACAF Champions League
  • Leagues Cup
  • Campeones Cup
  • The Queen City Cup

You can read Ryan’s full article  here


Sporting Director:

Zoran Krneta

Zoran will be responsible for all on-field operations, recruiting coaches and professional support staff, identifying and signing players for the MLS roster, and creating a youth development academy and related youth player initiatives.

You can read Ryan Bailey’s full interview with Zoran here

This is an interesting choice, to say the least. I’m hoping his background can translate to success and overcompensate for the lack of experience in that specific role.


Technical Director:

Marc Nichols

Nicholls, who comes to Charlotte from his role as director of player development with the Seattle Sounders, is responsible for overseeing the inception and development of Charlotte MLS. The development of the academy will form a significant portion of his responsibilities.

Ryan interviews Marc on developing a club philosophy and “finding the Charlotte way of doing things.” You can read that here


Director of Community Engagement:

Dustin Swinehart

Swinehart, who played professional soccer in Charlotte for 12 years, will spearhead the club’s effort to create a positive and long-term impact in the region.

You can read Ryan’s interview with him here


Director of Scouting: 

Thomas Schaling

You have to read this article and hear about how Thomas got his start playing the very popular video game, Football Manager. It’s fascinating and inspiring!

Read the full story here


Team Manager: Summer

I had a feeling this would come late spring / early summer after the European season’s end but I wonder if they already have someone in mind for this position. No, it won’t be Tata Martino.

Academy Manager:

Dan Lock

 

 

 

Dan Lock has over a decade of experience in developing, mentoring and managing coaches at youth levels. He has held director and management positions at the MLS academy level and boasts a successful track record of elite talent development and educational leadership.

“Dan is a perfect fit for our new academy project,” says Charlotte MLS Technical Director Marc Nicholls. “He has a wonderful coaching pedigree, as well as a background in coach mentorship. His proven ability in the area of club partnerships and affiliations aligns perfectly with our mission to be an inclusive club for the Carolinas.”

Read the full story here


Community Engagement Manager:

Jorge Herrera

 


 

 

 

Herrera, who played professional soccer in the city for the Charlotte Eagles and Charlotte Independence, will work with Director of Community Engagement Dustin Swinehart to encourage the growth of the sport through community and charity initiatives.

“I feel honored to be a part of this team and give back to the community that has embraced me and my family,” Herrera said. “I’m looking forward to serving this community and increasing the positive impact of our MLS team.”

Read the full story here


Head of Analytics:

Mark Simpson

 

 

 

Simpson has previously worked as a scout for the Seattle Sounders and most recently served as Technical Director at the NC Fusion, where he shaped the club’s philosophy and implemented an evidence-based approach for players and coaches.

“Our club will embrace data and analytics,” said Charlotte MLS Technical Director Marc Nicholls. “It’s very important that we use an evidence-based approach to aid the decision-making process. Mark will be integral to that vision, and brings a very practical approach to a complex process.”

Read the full story here


Charlotte MLS Host & Producer:

Tiffany Blackmon

 

 

 

Blackmon now joins Charlotte MLS as a Host and Producer, and will also work closely with the MLS Community Relations Team.

“I jumped at the opportunity to get back to the game that I love. I played soccer from when I was 8 years old, right through college. I still love playing, but I get very competitive. I have spent a lot of time in Charlotte covering the Panthers, and I love it here, so when the opportunity was presented to me, I thought, “OK, the people involved in this team are fantastic, I played soccer and I’ve been to this city so much. So why would I not want to be a part of this?”

Read the full story here


US Soccer Development Academy:

 

 

 

In a very exciting announcement, Charlotte MLS has been invited to join the United States Development Academy. The Development Academy sets the standard for elite environments for youth soccer clubs nationwide and is a part of U.S. Soccer’s global leadership position in youth soccer, which impacts thousands of players.

“We are delighted to unify the city of Charlotte, and the home-grown territories of North Carolina and South Carolina by providing a fully-funded academy program,” said Charlotte MLS Technical Director Marc Nicholls.

FAQ:

What is the Charlotte MLS Academy?

The Charlotte MLS Academy will develop some of the most talented soccer players in the nation, with the aim of earning a professional contract with Charlotte MLS.

The mission is to develop Homegrown Players comparable to the world’s best. As the program develops, the academy will aim to provide an average of two players per year to MLS.

The club will emphasize the holistic development of each individual, producing well-rounded individuals who become valuable members of the community.

Is there a cost to participate?

The Charlotte MLS Academy is a fully-funded program for all selected full-time participants.

What is the selection process?

The club has established a scouting identification process in order to observe talented players.

Players may also register their interest in Charlotte MLS Academy via the Player Interest form.

Where will Charlotte MLS Academy players come from?

Charlotte MLS’ Homegrown territory is defined as the states of North Carolina and South Carolina.

Players will come from this territory and also available non-Homegrown Territories, per MLS Player Development guidelines.

Will there be a Homestay or Residency Program?

Yes, Charlotte MLS will provide opportunities to high-potential prospects from both the Homegrown and non-Homegrown Territories.

What age groups will the Charlotte MLS Academy feature?

The age groups have yet to be determined for the 2020-21 season. The club is committed to operating a fully comprehensive academy program.

What leagues will the Charlotte MLS Academy play in?

The academy will participate in the US Soccer Development Academy league, exclusive MLS competitions, and international events.

Where will the Charlotte MLS Academy train?

The location of the Academy is yet to be determined. More information will be available in due course.

What will the time commitments be for Charlotte MLS Academy players?

Typically, academy prospects will participate in evening practices four nights a week, plus games (home and away) on weekends.

The academy season will run year-round, with targeted breaks that align with the school calendar.

Special Advisor

Steve Walsh

 

 

 

Make no mistake, this is a massive hire for the club and what a lofty title!  It’s great to see they are reaching out and bringing in top talent, talent known throughout the footballing world. I’m curious to see if Walsh will have any say so on the new Team Manager. I would have thought the team would already have someone in mind, but with the role that Walsh has now, he will certainly have some sway.  

Once described by Sir Alex Ferguson the “most influential person in the Premier League,” Walsh has forged a reputation as one of the most successful scouts in world soccer.

“I am very much looking forward to working with a team of like-minded professionals who are driven with the same purpose of making Charlotte MLS successful,” Walsh said. “It gives me the opportunity to be part of something special and I am truly excited for the challenge. Our aim is to give the soccer fans of Charlotte a team of which they can be truly proud.”

Read the full story here

 

Season Ticket Pricing:

If you haven’t already, reserve your season tickets now. https://charlottemls2021.com/

Right now there are an estimated 22,000 + reserved season-ticket deposits. During the 2019 MLS season, only Atlanta United and the Seattle Sounders averaged more than 30,000 fans per game, according to Soccer Stadium Digest.

Here are a few FAQ’s o Season Tickets:

  • How much deposit? Lower Level Deposits will be split into three different tiers: Supporters Section – $50; General Seating – $75; Silver Club Level Seating – $100. Only one deposit is required regardless of the desired number of seats. When securing your deposit, you will be asked to select how many seats you anticipate purchasing.
  • Are deposits refundable? Yes
  • What are the differences between the three tiers? The Supporters Section will be located in the Lower Level behind the East Goal. This is where the stadium cheers begin so expect to stand the entire match. ​General Seating will be located in the Lower Level throughout the 100 and 200 level sections, with the exception of the Supporters Area. Silver Club Level Seats are located in the top half of the Lower Bowl at Bank of America Stadium, stretching corner to corner on each sideline. All of the seats are outdoors and members will have exclusive access to our climate-controlled concourse. Additionally, a Silver Club Level seat will include some level of Food & Beverage in the annual season ticket cost.
  • How much are Season Ticket Memberships? Full pricing details will be announced prior to seat selection. Interest-free payment plans will be available. The deposit amount will be applied towards your Membership. Additional Membership benefits will be announced closer to the inaugural season.
  • When will seat selection take place? A representative will be in contact with additional details in the coming months.
  • Will Luxury Suites be Available? Yes, Please contact Tickets@CharlotteMLS2021.com if you are interested in owning a Luxury Suite for Charlotte MLS.

Here is Atlanta United’s current ticket pricing. Take this with a grain of salt as I don’t think Charlotte’s will be quite as pricey.

https://www.atlutd.com/2020membership

For example: In 2017, season-ticket prices for an 18-game package in the Supporters Section were $360, or $20 per game. In 2018, season-ticket prices for an 18-game package were $504, or $28 per game, in the Supporters Section. If you look at 2020 it’s now $558, or $31 per game. Again this is just for the Supporters Section. Club Level or Sideline tickets will be a lot more.


Headquarters and Practice Field:

 

 

 

Part of the $110 Million that the city of Charlotte is putting up is to go towards a new Headquarters, supposedly where the old Eastland Mall once was. There has been some confusion about the $110 Million. This does not come from the local taxpayer, your taxes will not go up because of the team. The $110 million will come from tourism tax. These funds are also earmarked and can only be used by the city for entertainment purposes. These funds are not and cannot be allocated for schools or roads etc. so when your non-soccer loving friends run their mouth about paying for the team or how taxes should go to something else … you can kindly refute that.


Player Signings:

Again, Ryan through the official MLS site has some great articles laying out how we could potentially build out our roster for 2021.

Signing Players: https://charlottemls2021.com/mls-101-when-will-charlotte-mls-start-signing-players/

Super Draft: https://charlottemls2021.com/mls-101-what-is-the-superdraft/

Expansion Rules: https://charlottemls2021.com/mls-101-explaining-the-rules-for-building-an-mls-roster/


Want to get more involved? Maybe you are new to the area? Maybe you want to have some beers with like-minded people and speculate WILDY about signings and tactics? Maybe you want to talk shit about Atlanta United? Here are a few groups to enable you to live your best life.

Supporter Groups:

*I’m sure there are a lot more out there now and even more will pop up, but here are a few to get you started*

Mint City Collective: https://mintcitycollective.com/

The Queens Firm: https://www.facebook.com/queensfirm/

Charlotte MLS Discussion Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/404774933743198/


Podcasts:

9607 MLS Pod:      https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/9607-mls-pod/id1374109176 

 

 

 

Mint City Soccer Show:         https://anchor.fm/mint-city-collective

 

 

 

The Collective Voice Podcast:  https://anchor.fm/mintcityvoice

 

 

 

Extra Time (Offical Podcast of MLS):https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/extratime-the-official-podcast-of-major-league-soccer-mls/id379077036

 

 

 

The Queens English Soccer Show: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-queens-english-soccer-show/id1501025448

Southern Scholar Socks

I used to think socks were boring, the item people give their Dad or husband when they don’t have a creative bone in their body or just lazy. The ultimate meh gift.

I used to believe that it didn’t matter what socks you wore and I personally hated getting socks as a gift.  There was a time where I didn’t care about such smalls details of what I was wearing. Who cares, right?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I should have cared. I’ve come to realize that life is all about the details, the small things.

Don’t worry, this is not a metaphorical article about how socks represent some grander purpose in the universe. No, this article is simply about giving a damn about the type of socks you wear because you need to dress right and act like somebody. This article is about a company that I have found that makes great socks, and you don’t even have to leave your house to get them.

Southern Scholar

How it Works

Sign-Up for a Subscription and each month you will get a brand new pair of socks delivered right to your doorstep. These are not over the top, cheesy, nonsense socks that a 10-year-old would wear. No, these are classy, stylish socks that you can rock every day.

What Are The Socks Made Of?

The Signature Material Blend contains the highest quality Polyester, Viscose, and Nylon/Spandex. It is unlike anything you’ve ever felt before and provides unparalleled comfort, fit, and durability. This specific blend of materials also allows the socks to hold its color and deters from any fading after washing/wearing.

What You Get with Your Subscription

  • 1 pair of dress socks each month
  • Tailored with their one-of -a-kind signature material blend
  • Crafted utilizing 200 needle count knitting for superior quality
  • Engineered for a better fit & to stay up all day

 

Complimentary Style Card

  • Head to-toe style guide included with each pair
  • Detailed pairing recommendations from their stylists
  • Business casual & business professional outfit suggestions

 

How Much Does It Cost?

Your Southern Scholar Membership provides you with 1 pair dress socks plus a style tip card, every month, for just $15 a month. This includes free shipping, returns, and exchanges.

Want to save some money? Subscribe to a 6 or 12 Month Prepaid Subscription and save up to $15 – that means 1 pair is free!

Want even more savings? Use our code:  SOUTHERN20 at checkout to get 20% off

Sock drawer getting a bit full? That’s what happens when you get incredibly durable socks delivered every month. Feel free to skip a month or cancel your account at any time!

 

THEIR SATISFACTION GUARANTEE

If you are ever dissatisfied with the quality, fit, comfort, color, pattern, style, stitching, feel, look, durability, lifetime or any other aspect of our socks, they will give you a refund.

I’ve been extremely happy with my Southern Scholar socks. Because they are never gaudy or outlandish I can wear them every day in a business environment. I don’t have to constantly pull and tug at them as they are designed to stay up and keep their shape.  They are comfortable enough where I’m not hating my life at the end of the day and dying to take them off. 

These are perfect for Fathers Day or Christmas gifts, or just a great gift in general.

Don’t think people don’t take notice of your socks, they do, so dont look like an asshole. Dress right, and be somebody.

Major League Soccer in Charlotte. Never Thought it Would Actually Happen

I can’t believe this day has come.

For years, I never thought Charlotte would actually get a Major League Soccer team.

I was 17 years old when MLS played its inaugural season in 1996. At that age, soccer was everything. I was playing or practicing every single day. I bought L.A. Galaxy’s heinously amazing home and away jerseys because my favorite player, Cobi Jones was playing for them. I watched every MLS match I could, I recorded games and re-watched them like a psychopath. I bought magazines, hung posters on my wall, MLS was my universe.

Seriously … heinous.

As a naïve 17-year-old born and raised Southern, I dreamed that Charlotte would one day get a soccer team (and I would somehow play for them – which we now know was a nice little dream as I enter my 40s).  However, as each season came and went, that dream faded. More and more teams were coming into the league, but North Carolina wasn’t even mentioned. Soccer in the South? Laughable, this is ACC & SEC Football country … the sentiment around soccer was that it wasn’t even a real sport.

But, as a young soccer addict, I continued to have hope. I would tell myself if Washington D.C. had a team, Charlotte could one day too. I felt that it was only a matter of time.

I got older and soccer started to take a back seat to things like paying bills, traveling, girlfriends … ya know … life. I basically, all but stopped watching MLS in 2002. That was until David Beckham came into the league in 2007 (he’s my second favorite player). I got excited again and followed a few seasons closely but, once more, my excitement faded around 2012. I was following Cobi Jones or David Beckham, and pulling for L.A., but I could never buy all the way in. They were on the West Coast. L.A. couldn’t be my team. I felt like all the bandwagon fans out there that pull for teams like the Patriots and Yankees, just because they are good. I hate those assholes. Pain is loving your team regardless of winning or losing seasons (just ask a Browns fan). There was D.C. United, the closest thing to home, yet it was still so far away (6 +hours). I just didn’t have my team to love and agonize over.

Granted, I continued to fill my love for soccer following the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National teams, and my beloved Arsenal, but I had nothing at home to get excited about or get behind.

Then, Atlanta got a team! Ok MLS, now you have my attention again. A soccer team in the South? Atlanta? That’s sort of close, right? Still 4 hours away, but maybe they could be my team. A true Southern team.  At that point, I had completely given up on North Carolina ever getting a franchise.

The excitement, attendance and the early success of Atlanta United were astounding. My wife and I went to Bobby Dodd Stadium in their inaugural year before they moved into the ridiculously amazing Mercedes Benz Stadium. Bobby Dodd was packed and raucous, the game was amazing, the overall experience was exhilarating. I got some Atlanta United gear and began watching all of their games. I was hooked again.

In 2016-2017 there started to be some rumblings of Charlotte putting in a bid for a team from Marcus Smith. Could it be? Could it happen? Would the city of Charlotte help put up money for it? After weeks of wild speculation and news articles giving vague statements and updates, the answer was ultimately no, and the bid didn’t go off.  It just seemed destined that we wouldn’t get a team. I again lost hope.

Then, some Billionaire named David Tepper bought the Carolina Panthers for $2.2 billion.

Everything changed.

Suddenly, there was a man on the scene with very fat pockets and the willingness to make shit happen. In a world where money talks, David Tepper had a goddamn megaphone.

I was so tired of all the talk and the bickering, and the debating about getting a team in the past. But now, here was someone that had that “fuck you” money, the type of money that makes things move quickly. The type of money that can bypass petty nonsense. He was willing to pony up $325 million for the MLS franchise fee. We were off and running. My dream resurfaced with a vengeance.

Tepper is set to invest a total of $425 million toward the franchise. This includes the cost of the expansion fee, player salaries, paying the coaching staff etc. The city of Charlotte has even committed $110 million in city funding toward renovations that would make Bank of America Stadium suitable for soccer matches. Also, some of that money will go towards turning the property where the old Eastland Mall used to be on Central Avenue into the team’s headquarters, practice facility and community fields.

Things moved pretty quickly, but I still didn’t believe it until the actual announcement. I just couldn’t allow myself to be let down once more. I assumed it wouldn’t go through or another city would beat us out. But, we did it. It really fucking happened. You can watch the full video announcement here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5trF9B-Tg4

I feel like a teenager again with the excitement I once had. I immediately went in halfers with a friend for season tickets. I joined the Mint City Collective ( a supporters group) https://mintcitycollective.com

I am pumped, I am ready.

This will be such an amazing thing for the city. I’m so excited that the old Eastland Mall location is getting the headquarters. Right now, the lot is a dilapidated eye-sore on a side of town that could use some love.

There will be a lot of updates ahead. We have this year to get so much accomplished to be ready in March 2021. I’m so giddy, I can’t believe this is a thing.

I’m having a hard time properly putting into words how I feel, but I’ve tried to here. We are very fortunate to get a team, we are very fortunate that we have an owner that stepped up and made this happen. For good or ill, this is my fucking team now and it’s going to be awesome!

Thanks for reading!

“The awarding of an expansion team for Charlotte by Major League Soccer is a proud moment and significant for Charlotte and everyone in our community. “I’ve made clear for a long time that I have two goals as a team owner: sustained winning on the field and making a difference in the community. These will be our goals with Charlotte’s MLS team, and the work begins today.” -David Tepper

Monthly Delight: Coffee & Cigars Delivered to Your Doorstep

 

 

New to smoking cigars? Looking for new and unique options, but just not sure what to buy? Perhaps, you are like me and loathe going out to the store just to have some jackass sales clerk … lurking around in the humidor …  recommending things that only seem to be overpriced and from “big brands.” To help alleviate all that, let me introduce you to one of my go-to’s …  Ezra Zion Cigars monthly Cigar & Coffee subscription.

Ezra Zion

 

The value of their subscription is incredible and the beautiful thing about it all, it’s delivered to your door step. You get a different selection each month, so you can truly grow your humidor with unique sticks. The monthly subscription provides 5-6 cigars (which always features a new Ezra Club exclusive cigar) and on top of that, you also get a new 12oz bag of Ezra Zion coffee!

Right now, the subscription costs just $49.95. Think about this,  if you go to a cigar shop, one cigar alone is going to cost you $10-$15 or more (depending on what you get). You would pay at least $50 just for the cigars. Then, there’s the coffee … which in the stores can costs you from $9-$15 (again depending on what you get). So again, the value is amazing.

To give you an idea of what you can expect, here are some of the past months selections:

eccotm_september_2018_grande  eccotm_october_2018_grande

eccotm_nov_2018_grande eccotm_dec_2018_grande

So, as you can see from the photos … you are always getting something new … something fun.

September’s selection and December’s selections have been my personal favorites so far. December’s “Ugly Sweater” coffee is some of the best coffee I have every had. If they have it stock at the time you are reading this, I highly recommend you buy it.

Now, I’m a sucker for good marketing and love their fun bands and artwork on their their cigars, but don’t be fooled or think its all flash and gimmicky. Their cigars are quality, well-made and enjoyable.

 

The Coffee & Cigars From Ezra Zion

COFFEE: The new blends of coffee are just as complex, fun and rich as the small batch cigars that Ezra is famous for. Using the rarest beans that are in the top 1/10th of 1% in quality, and privately blending and roasting them to utter perfection! Each bag is 12oz.

CIGARS: Orders will vary from month to month and member to member depending on availability. Cigars included will be from past limited releases and core lines.

Ezra Zion is based in Texas, and produce some of the best and unique cigars I have ever had.  You can opt-in to their email to get updates on new releases (just FYI – their selections go fast, and can be on backorder, so you will need to pull the trigger on what you want quickly.)

yhai6bg2tbyyyaz3yohy8q fullsizeoutput_10f9 fullsizeoutput_e17 img_5539

I have been really impressed with Ezra Zion and anticipate getting my package in the mail each month. If you are are truly wanting to grow your selection and try cigars that you typically won’t see in stores, I highly recommend signing up for this subscription.

Of course you can get other items onto of the monthly subscription. You can always peruse their entire stock here: https://www.ezrazionstore.com.

Be sure to give them a follow on Instagram (which is a great way to keep up with their products)  @ezrazioncigars    https://www.instagram.com/ezrazioncigars/