The growing popularity of soccer in Detroit neighborhoods, clubs and recreation leagues has fueled the startup of a minor league soccer team: the Detroit City Football Club.
Mark Schott, a Wayne State physics student and member of the WSU Men’s Club Soccer, said that there is definitely a strong fan base of soccer in the Metro Detroit area, and specifically, but not exclusively, the WSU campus.
“I think that the presence of a minor league team will attract a moderate amount of fans depending on the home field location and the quality of play,” he said.
The Detroit City Football Club feels that there is a great opportunity for a growing soccer fan base in Metro Detroit, according to Alexander Wright, director of communications for the Detroit City Football Club.
“For a long time, soccer has been the ‘Detroit’ of sports in the U.S. That is, a majority of people didn’t believe the sport could succeed,” he said. “The reality is that professional soccer is the fastest growing pro sport, and every one of those teams started out by building a strong grass roots fan support through the minor leagues.”
The Detroit City FC was started by a group of Detroiters who met while playing soccer in the Detroit City Futbol League.
“We are ourselves all big soccer fans and we were already aware of the popularity of soccer clubs in the Metro Area, as well as in our ethnic communities like Southwest,” Wright said in an email. “The rec league had over 600 participants in it and the season ending tournament drew 2000 people, a majority of which live downtown. Seeing that success sort of put it all together that Detroit was ready for a minor league soccer team.”
Wright said that the team’s roster will likely include both college players and players older than college age.
“We are putting an emphasis on showcasing local & homegrown players, and we want our team to be a means for our players to play, not just in front of the fans, but in front of their friends and family as well,” he wrote.
Schott said that he would be interested in trying out for the team, but he doesn’t have time. But Schott said that the soccer club’s goalie is going to try out for the team.
The Detroit City FC will play in the National Premiere Soccer League, and regular season opponents will come from Cleveland; Buffalo, N.Y.; Erie, Pa.; and Binghamtom, N.Y. The team is close to making an announcement about where games will be held, but Wright said that it will definitely be in downtown Detroit.
Schott said that Adams Field could be a great place for the team to play because it would be easy for WSU soccer fans to attend.
The team will be coached by Kylie Stannard, an assistant coach for Michigan State University’s men’s soccer team. Joining Stannard is Cale Wassermann, head coach for the Saginaw Valley State University’s men’s soccer team, will be the associate coach. Finally, the assistant coach is Matt Johnson, head coach of the men’s soccer team at Marygrove College.
Wright said that although the team, itself, is called the Detroit City Football Club, supporters have adopted the name “Le Rouge” for themselves and, by association, the team.
The first tryout for the team will be Feb. 18 from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. in the North Dome of the Oakland Yard, located at 5328 Highland Rd. in Waterford, Mich. There will be at least one more tryout in March as well. There will be a $40 fee, which will include a free season ticket, and players must be at least 18 years old and not currently enrolled in high school. Interested players can register at www.detcityfc.com.
Aside from engaging in community outreach through connecting with thriving ethnic groups in the metro Detroit area to let them know they are invited to try out and attend the events, the games are going to be very affordable. Season tickets packages for 8 home games start at $30, and tickets for each game will be sold at the gate for $5.
Worried about missing a Tigers game? No need to worry, the Detroit City Football Club carefully scheduled their games so as to not conflict with any Tigers home games.