Detroit’s popular semi-pro soccer team, Detroit City FC, is about to drop the “semi-” part of their description.
In a move that’s been desired for awhile (CEO and co-owner Sean Mann as much telegraphed this in multiple interviews, including one on our podcast near the beginning of this season), Detroit City FC has figured out a way to move to a professional league and extend their season.
By being part of creating a new league.
They’re one of 11 National Premier Soccer League teams that are “established” that are creating a new league in association with the NPSL. The announcement says that the clubs will compete in the first-ever NPSL Founders Cup competition and it will run from August to November 2019.
And in 2020? There will be a full schedule and all the clubs will be making full-time commitment to their markets and will include professional players, coaches, and staff.
“We are very excited to bring a new brand of community-based soccer to the U.S. market,” said NPSL Chairman Joe Barone. “Beginning with the Founders Cup, fans will be able to enjoy watching authentic clubs compete with professional players and staff. This new venture will build upon the success and experience of NPSL and its nationwide network of local soccer club members.”
The 11 founding members include ASC San Diego, Cal FC, California United Strikers FC, Chattanooga FC, Detroit City FC, FC Arizona, Miami FC, Miami United FC, Milwaukee Torrent, New York Cosmos, and Oakland Roots, and plans are being developed to add additional clubs.
There are still details to come, as the format, player roster information, and schedule will be announced at a date later this winter.
This is an interesting move for Detroit City FC, a club that has been the most popular iteration of soccer in Metro Detroit as far as attendance goes bringing thousands to games to Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck. In previous interviews with Daily Detroit, Detroit City FC CEO Sean Mann said that they need to expand the season and professional players would help the quality on the field.
This also may put the pressure on the billionaire duo of Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores who have had a so far unsuccessful bid to get a Major League Soccer team in Detroit. The bid has ran into a series of snafus. If Detroit City FC can extend their season and build market position, soccer fans — a notoriously loyal bunch — might not be as interested in what Gilbert and Gores put together.