Detroit City FC

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Detroit City FC
Detroit City FC logo.svg
Nickname(s)Le Rouge
Founded2012; 10 years ago (2012)
StadiumKeyworth Stadium
Hamtramck, Michigan
Capacity7,933
CEOSean Mann
ManagerTrevor James
LeagueUSL Championship
Fall 2021NISA: Champions
WebsiteClub website
Charity colors
Current season

Detroit City FC (DCFC) is an American professional soccer club based in Detroit, Michigan, that competes in the USL Championship. The club played in the National Premier Soccer League from 2012 to 2019 and the National Independent Soccer Association in 2020 and 2021. Detroit City plays its home matches at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck, an enclave of Detroit.[1] The club is managed by Trevor James, a former Ipswich Town F.C. player who later was an assistant coach and scout under Bobby Robson.[2]

The team's nickname is Le Rouge, derived from Detroit's French roots and the River Rouge that flows through Detroit and many of its suburbs. As well as fielding a men's professional team, Detroit City also fields a women's senior side in the USL W League,[3] a development academy,[4] and various youth teams throughout Metro Detroit.

History[edit]

Detroit City FC was started by a group of five Detroit residents who wanted a club of their own that would promote the city and help build community through soccer.[5] In their first season in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), Detroit City FC finished second in the five team Great Lakes Conference of the Midwest Region. Le Rouge went on to lose 2–1 to AFC Cleveland in the Great Lakes Conference Semi-finals, ending their season with a 5–2–5 record. In December 2012, it was announced that head coach Kylie Stannard and associate coach Cale Wassermann would not be returning for a second season with the team due to other obligations. The following month, Ben Pirmann took over as head coach and Adil Salmoni was hired as associate head coach.

In 2013, Detroit City finished first in the Great Lakes Conference of the Midwest Region and was ranked #1 in the NPSL following an undefeated regular season and a Rust Belt Derby Championship. After beating rival AFC Cleveland for the third time that season in the semi-finals 3–1, DCFC lost to the Erie Admirals, ending the season with a 12–1–1 record.[6]

Volunteers work on refurbishing the west grandstand at Keyworth Stadium prior to the 2016 season.

The club went 8–3–3 in all competitions in 2014 and finished in second place in a newly aligned Great Lakes West Conference of the Midwest Region of the National Premier Soccer League, which is one of two fourth-division soccer leagues in the United States. Detroit City FC made its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup debut on May 7, losing to RWB Adria in penalty kicks after a 2–2 draw. In the NPSL regular season, the club claimed the Rust Belt Derby trophy for its second-straight year. Additionally, the team extended its home winning streak to 15 games, with its last home loss being in July 2013. In attendance, the club reached its Cass Tech record of 3,884 supporters for its 3–1 win against the Michigan Stars on July 11, 2015.[7]

Keyworth Stadium within Wayne County, Michigan with the city of Hamtramck highlighted.
Keyworth Stadium within Michigan

The 2016 pre-season began with the Keyworth investment drive, which raised $741,250[8] for restorations and renovations on Keyworth Stadium. On March 10, Detroit City began roster announcements confirming the return of the 2015 Black Arrow MVP Dave Edwardson.[9] Detroit City played its first home game in Keyworth on May 20, 2016, drawing 1–1 against AFC Ann Arbor in front of a then-record 7,410 supporters. Detroit City also saw success in the US Open Cup beating the Michigan Bucks on penalties[10] before falling to Louisville City FC, a professional USL side, also on penalties.[11] The 2016 NPSL season proved less successful, failing to make it to the play-offs and finishing with a 4–4–4 record. In August 2016, Detroit City confirmed Ben Pirmann would return for a fifth season with the club.[12]

After the launch of the 2017 season tickets, the club announced from Belfast that the club would face off against Glentoran F.C. in May to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Detroit Cougars.[13] Glentoran FC played in the United Soccer Association as the Detroit Cougars in the 1967 season when they went 3–6–3.[14] Detroit City also had an international friendly against Venezia FC that they won 2–0. Despite starting the 2017 NPSL campaign with two points from three games, Detroit City went on a nine-game winning streak to finish second over-all in the Great Lakes Conference. The post-season included three wins, including a 3–2 win over first place Ann Arbor to win the Midwest Championship.[15] Detroit ended its season in the NPSL national semi-finals with a loss on penalties against Midland-Odessa FC, from Texas, in front of a record crowd of 7,533.[16]

Early in 2018, original founder Ben Steffans left the ownership group and was replaced by Mike Lasinski[17] and Joe Richert, who was not outwardly announced or involved with running the club.[18] Following the conclusion of the 2018 season, the club opened the Detroit City Fieldhouse in Detroit, Michigan.[19] The Fieldhouse included a "clubhouse" bar as well as two indoor soccer fields for fans and the local residents of Detroit. It also houses the club's front office and training facilities. It was also announced that head coach, Ben Pirmann, was stepping down to join Memphis 901 FC as an assistant coach.[20] His successor, Trevor James, was announced January 4, 2019.[21]

Detroit City finished first in the Midwest-Great Lakes conference for the 2019 season and was knocked out in the region finals by Cleveland SC on penalties.[22] On August 15, 2019, the National Independent Soccer Association announced that Detroit City FC would join the NISA for the 2020 season.[23] On September 28, 2019, Detroit City FC announced that they would be adding a women's side in 2020, participating in United Women's Soccer (UWS).[24] In the inaugural NPSL Members Cup, Detroit City came in first with an overall record of 8–1–1.[25]

The 2020 seasons were complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The NISA 2019–20 Spring season was canceled after Detroit City had only played a single match and the 2020 UWS season was canceled in the months before kickoff. On June 19, 2020, Detroit City announced that they would host a UWS Stadium Showcase at the end of July.[26] In the showcase, the Detroit City women would compete against Lansing United, Midwest United, and Livonia FC. Detroit won their first-ever home match 2–1 against Lansing,[27] but lost to Midwest United 1–3 in the final.[28] NISA announced on July 1, 2020, of an Independent Cup involving 15 teams in 4 regions.[29] Detroit City FC would compete in the Great Lakes Division with former NPSL rivals FC Buffalo and Cleveland SC.

On July 30, 2020, the front office announced the sale of non-share "units" to fans and the public at large,[30] allowing fan investment in the club, while the newly created Board of Managers would remain in control of decisions through Class A Membership. Originally announced to run through November 20, more than 2,000 supporters pledged over $1,000,000 in five days, putting the club at the limit for investment.[31] On November 13, 2021, it was announced that Detroit City would join the USL Championship for the 2022 season, becoming the third NISA team to join the league after Miami FC and Oakland Roots SC.[32]

Club culture[edit]

In the community[edit]

Since its beginning in 2012, Detroit City FC has been dedicated to supporting the city of Detroit and building community through its own partnerships and philanthropic missions, as noted in the club's motto, "Passion for our city. Passion for the game."[33]

The club operates the Detroit City Futbol League, a recreational, community-driven adult soccer league in the summer.[34] In 2014, the team announced its first fall recreational adult league, Soktoberfest.[35] Detroit City FC also works with Think Detroit PAL to operate free youth soccer clinics and provide free admission to Detroit PAL participants.

Detroit City FC supporters with the city's skyline behind them during a match at Cass Tech in 2013.

Each season, one regular-season home game is dedicated as a fundraiser for a Detroit-area charity. On May 26, 2013, the club's match against Zanesville Athletic benefited the Wounded Warrior Project and Hooligans for Heroes, a nonprofit started by members of the Northern Guard Supporters. On June 6, 2014, the club became the first American sports team to wear a uniform in support of LGBTQ inclusion in a regulation match. Le Rouge dedicated the June 6 match versus Erie Admirals S.C. to inclusivity in sports, auctioning off the commemorative jerseys to benefit the Ruth Ellis Center, a Highland Park, MI., shelter for at-risk, runaway and homeless LGBTQ youth.[36] For the 2015 season, City donned their alternate kits to support Think Detroit PAL, auctioning the game-worn kits to support youth league soccer in the city.[37] On June 9, 2016, it was announced that the June 25 game against Dayton Dynamo would be their annual charity match, supporting Freedom House Detroit, a non-profit supporting refugees seeking asylum in the United States and Canada.[38]

In 2014, the club announced its partnership with United Way of Southeastern Michigan to support its "Michigan No Kid Hungry" initiative and promote healthy lifestyles for youth in Detroit.[39] On September 7, 2014, City hosted its inaugural Detroit Public Schools Showcase, which featured a friendly match for City followed by a regulation match between Cass Tech High School and Detroit Renaissance High School, with proceeds from the night going toward the boys soccer programs.[40] The club has strong ties with Cass Tech High School, investing thousands of dollars into improving the Cass Tech field, a benefit to both the soccer and football programs. City also presented the Cass Tech girls soccer program with new uniforms early in the 2014 season.

Supporters[edit]

The Northern Guard celebrate a goal during a home game at Cass Tech

Detroit City has several supporter groups, with the largest and most notable being the Northern Guard Supporters. The supporter culture among all groups is very politically left-leaning. Banners and flags supporting various traditionally left-wing causes/issues can be seen throughout the stadium.[41][42] Supporters support various social causes in the community such as LGBTQ+ issues, access to water resources, as well as other causes.[43][44]

Rivalries[edit]

Prior to the break-up of the NPSL Midwest-Great Lakes conference, supporters of Detroit City FC, FC Buffalo, and AFC Cleveland formed the 'Rust Belt Derby'. The winner of the Derby was based on the head-to-head record of the clubs during regular season NPSL matches.[45] These were typically high pressure games and particular fan favorites, especially by Detroit City FC supporter groups who have been known to greatly antagonize DCFC's opponents.[46] Cleveland won the inaugural Rust Belt Derby on June 23, 2012, following a 1–1 draw with Detroit.[47] Detroit City FC would come back and win the 2013 Rust Belt Derby trophy after beating FC Buffalo 2–1. The 2014 trophy went to Detroit on goal differential after all three teams finished with a win and a loss in Derby play, and Detroit would win again in 2015 after a 1–1 draw in the FC Buffalo-AFC Cleveland Derby match that Buffalo needed to win by more than a goal to take the trophy. The last Derby was in 2016 after the Great Lakes conference was split into East and West. FC Buffalo and Detroit City FC contested the derby without AFC Cleveland through home and away friendlies.[48]

AFC Ann Arbor was another rival of Detroit City prior to the two clubs leaving the NPSL and joining the USL League Two and NISA respectively. The history and proximity of the two cities cause their clashes to be important to supporters. In 2017, Ann Arbor won the Midwest Conference Regular Season title over City, who finished in second.[49] Both teams qualified for the NPSL playoffs. The two teams faced each other again in the playoffs, with the Midwest Region title on the line. City defeated 10-man Ann Arbor 3–2 to ensure their passage into the NPSL Semifinals.[50]

A cross-league rivalry has developed with the Flint City Bucks (formerly the Michigan Bucks), the other major 4th Division team in Metro-Detroit. The two faced off in the Opening Round of the U.S. Open Cup in 2015, 2016, and 2018, with the Bucks winning the first meeting 3–0 and City taking the second two meetings in penalties (0–0, 4–3 PK) in 2016 and (1–1, 5–4 PK) in 2018. The two sides met for a friendly on May 4, 2019. Flint City won the match 1–0.[51]

With the announcement of a women's team joining the United Women's Soccer in 2020, Detroit City would be rejoining previous rivals AFC Ann Arbor and Lansing United.

Team image[edit]

Kit[edit]

Detroit City FC home kits are predominantly a dark shade of red or maroon, referred to as "rouge" as a reference to the club's nickname. Away kits are most often white, though champagne kits have also been worn, most recently in 2021. In 2019 Detroit issued its first set of third kits, which were black. Starting in 2013 and each season afterwards, the club releases an extra kit design as a "charity kit". These kits are then auctioned off at the end of a specified match to raise funds for a local Detroit charity. In 2020 there was no charity kit given the much shorter schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Home
Away

Sponsorship[edit]

Years Kit manufacturer Kit sponsor Charity Kit
Front sponsor Secondary sponsor
2012 Nike Independent Detroit businesses sponsored individual players Slows to Go, Michigan Greensafe Products
2013 CorePower, MillKing it Productions Wounded Warriors
2014 Ruth Ellis Foundation
2015 Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Local Marketing Association[52][53] Henry Ford Health System, M1 Imaging Center Detroit PAL[54]
2016 M1 Imaging Center, Faygo, Henry Ford Health System Freedom House Detroit[55]
2017 Adidas[56][57] Faygo, Henry Ford Health System, Strategic Staffing Solutions Alternatives for Girls[58]
2018 Lyft[59] Henry Ford Health System, Strategic Staffing Solutions United Community Housing Coalition
2019 Stroh's[60] We the People of Detroit
2020 Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Local Marketing Association[61][62] Stroh's,[63] Strategic Staffing Solutions
2021 Ally Financial,[64] Google Fi, DTE Energy, Strategic Staffing Solutions Give Merit
2022 DTE Energy[a] Women: Hamtramck Historical Museum
Men: The Special Olympics
  1. ^ Bang was also originally announced, but the partnership was ended due to fan outcry.[65]

Players and staff[edit]

2013 Detroit City FC

Current roster[edit]

As of August 16, 2022[66]
No. Pos. Player Nation
1 GK Nate Steinwascher  United States
2 DF Rhys Williams  United States
5 DF Stephen Carroll  Republic of Ireland
6 MF Brad Dunwell  United States
7 FW Billy Forbes  Turks and Caicos Islands
8 MF Abdoulaye Diop  Senegal
9 FW Francis Atuahene  Ghana
11 FW Connor Rutz  United States
12 MF Michael Bryant  United States
13 GK Ryan Shellow  United States
14 MF Cy Goddard  Japan
15 DF Matt Lewis  United States
17 MF Benedek Tanyi  Hungary
19 FW Pato Botello Faz  Mexico
20 DF Deklan Wynne  New Zealand
21 MF Maxi Rodriguez  United States
22 DF Karl Ouimette (on loan from Indy Eleven)  Canada
23 DF Richard Foster  Scotland
24 DF Dominic Gasso ([A])  United States
25 GK Joe Rice (on loan from Loudoun United)  United States
27 FW Yazeed Matthews  South Africa
29 FW Antoine Hoppenot  France
30 DF Devon Amoo-Mensah  United States
47 MF Barnabas Tanyi ([A])  Hungary
77 FW Macky Diop  Senegal
  1. ^
    Detroit City FC academy player

Head coaches[edit]

  • Men's: England Trevor James[67]
  • Women's: United States Salvatore "Sam" Piraine[68]

Board of Managers[edit]

  • United States Sean Mann – CEO
  • United States Todd Kropp – COO
  • United States Alex Wright
  • United States David Dwaihy
  • United States Mike Lasinski

MVP recipients[edit]

At the conclusion of each season fans get to vote for the team's most valuable players, the Black Arrow Award. The title of the trophy is taken from the nickname of Gil Heron, a Jamaican born footballer who lived in Detroit and who later became the first-ever black player for Celtic F.C.

Black Arrow Award (Men's)[edit]

  • 2012: Scotland Keith Lough and United States Josh Rogers
  • 2013: United States Zach Myers
  • 2014: United States Cyrus Saydee
  • 2015: England David Edwardson
  • 2016: United States Tommy Catalano
  • 2017: South Africa Tyrone Mondi
  • 2018: Republic of Ireland Stephen Carroll
  • 2019: Jamaica Shawn Lawson
  • 2020: Zimbabwe Tendai Jirira
  • 2021: United States Connor Rutz

Black Arrow Award (Women's)[edit]

Honors[edit]

Domestic[edit]

National Independent Soccer Association

  • Season Championship
  • Fall Championship
  • Legends Cup
  • NISA Indepenent Cup
    • Great Lakes Region

National Premier Soccer League

  • Midwest Region
  • Great Lakes Conferences
    • Champions (2): 2013, 2019
  • Members Cup

Rivalries

Statistics[edit]

Year-by-year[edit]

Season League Div. Pos. Pl. W D L GF GA Pts. Playoffs U.S. Open Cup Top goalscorer Manager
Fall/Spring Result Season Result Name League
2012 NPSL Great Lakes 2nd 12 5 5 2 26 10 20 Conference Semifinal Ineligible[69] United States Adam Bedell
United States Kyle Bethel[70]
4 United States Kylie Stannard
2013 Great Lakes 1st 12 11 1 0 35 8 34 Conference Final Did not qualify[71] United States Zach Myers[72] 6 United States Ben Pirmann
2014 Great Lakes West 2nd 14 8 3 3 30 17 28 Did not qualify First round England Will Mellors-Blair[73] 5
2015 Midwest 2nd 12 8 2 2 30 14 26 Regional semifinal First round England Will Mellors-Blair[74] 10
2016 Great Lakes West 5th 12 4 4 4 24 21 16 Did not qualify Second Round United States Tommy Catalano
Liberia Cyrus Saydee[75]
4
2017 Great Lakes 2nd 14 9 3 2 29 19 30 National semifinal Did not qualify Jamaica Shawn Lawson[76] 7
2018 Great Lakes 4th 12 5 3 4 36 15 18 Did not qualify Second Round Jamaica Shawn Lawson[77] 6
2019 Great Lakes 1st 14 10 3 1 39 6 33 Regional Final Did not qualify Jamaica Shawn Lawson[78] 12 England Trevor James
2019–20 NISA Fall Did not participate N/A Cancelled United States Matt Lewis
United States Roddy Green
1
Spring[a] 3rd 1 1 0 0 2 0 3 Canceled
2020–21 Fall, Eastern 4th 4 1 2 1 3 2 5 Champions Champions Cancelled United States Connor Rutz
Mexico Pato Botello Faz
4
Spring 1st 8 6 2 0 14 3 20 Ineligible[b]
2021 NISA 1st 18 14 3 1 35 10 45 N/A Champions United States Maxi Rodriguez 7
2022 USL Championship Eastern 6th 24 10 9 5 31 23 39 TBD Round of 32 TBD TBD
  1. ^ Spring season cancelled before completion[79]
  2. ^ Detroit City already had a berth to the season final and thus was not eligible to compete in the spring final[80]

Tournaments[edit]

Name Year Group Pos. Pl. W D L GS GA Pts. Playoffs Top goalscorer
Name Total
NPSL Members Cup 2019 N/A 1st 10 8 1 1 17 4 25 N/A South Africa Yazeed Matthews 5
NISA Independent Cup 2020 Great Lakes 1st 2 2 0 0 6 0 6 N/A Jamaica Shawn Lawson
United States Connor Rutz
2
NISA Legends Cup 2021 Group 2 3rd 2 1 1 0 2 0 4 Champions Six players tied 1
NISA Independent Cup 2021 Great Lakes 1st 3 3 0 0 17 2 9 N/A South Africa Yazeed Matthews 4

Yearly attendance[edit]

Year League Stadium Avg Reg. Season Attendance Avg Attendance (All games)[a] Total Attendance
2012 NPSL Cass Technical High School Stadium 1,296 1,244 9,948
2013 1,484 1,591 15,914
2014 2,857 2,642 23,755[b]
2015 3,528 3,306 29,752
2016 Keyworth Stadium 5,208 5,255 52,550
2017 5,367 5,498 87,965
2018 5,584 5,946 77,298
2019 6,341 6,037 66,401
2019–20 NISA 5,498[c] 5,647 45,177
2020–21 0 0 0[d]
2021 4,280 4,280 38,516

Source[82]

  1. ^ Includes regular season, playoffs, U.S. Open Cup, and friendlies
  2. ^ The May 7, U.S. Open Cup match versus RWB Adria, which is not included in the source's data, has been added. The game, which was played at Stevenson High School in Livonia, Michigan with Detroit City designated as host, drew a crowd of 753.[81]
  3. ^ Only includes Members Cup as no home games were played prior to the 2019–20 NISA season being canceled
  4. ^ Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fans were not allowed to attend home matches in 2020

Record attendances[edit]

International exhibition[edit]

Starting in 2016, after the move to Keyworth, Detroit City began a yearly tradition to invite at least one international club for a friendly per year. This excludes Windsor TFC, which is based just miles away in neighboring Windsor and has been played yearly since the club's first season. These invitations are often extended to a club that has a similar ethos to Detroit City,[83][84] or holds historical significance to the city of Detroit.[85] The 2018 match against Serie A side Frosinone Calcio set a new club attendance record of 7,887.[86] In 2019, after announcing that the club was to play Lobos BUAP[87] of Mexico, Lobos faced financial trouble and was replaced both in the Liga MX and the friendly with FC Juárez.

Year Opponent Result
2016 England FC United of Manchester 3–3[88]
2017 Northern Ireland Glentoran FC 1–0[89]
Italy Venezia F.C. 2–0[90]
2018 Germany FC St. Pauli[91] 2–6[92]
Mexico Club Necaxa[93] 1–2[94]
Italy Frosinone Calcio[95] 0–10[96]
2019 Mexico FC Juárez[97] 1–3[98]
Mexico Club Atlas[99] 2–1[100]

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