Who here has heard of Detroit City FC? Raise your hand. For those of you that don’t, Detroit City FC is a Detroit (obviously)-based soccer team that has played their home games at Cass Tech since its inception in 2012. DCFC plays in the National Premier Soccer League, a league in American soccer’s fourth tier (think division 3 in college sports) and has continually impressed and have made the NPSL Playoffs three of its first four years; including an NPSL Midwest Region title in 2013.
The culture of Detroit City FC has gotten a lot of praise as well. For those who have partaken in a DCFC home game, the Cass Tech football stadium was clearly not enough. Thousands of fans now come to their home games and the high school stadium was starting to overflow into the streets. The supporter groups (think student sections but for soccer) of DCFC has garnered local and national attention for their passion and drive for the relatively small club. This year the soccer club had a stadium record of 3,884 for their July 13th match-up vs. the Michigan Stars.
The fact is that Detroit City FC is just becoming too popular to play their games at a non-dedicated site like Cass Tech. That record attendance figure is dwarfed by the fact that in 2014, DCFC had an average attendance of 2,857 in a 2,500 seat stadium. Through that season, the team totaled 23,022 people in attendance for eight matches, with four games over 3,000 people and seven of the eight exceeding seating capacity. Their rise to local soccer prominance has warranted a move and overhaul on a new venue. That new venue is the Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck.
The plan for DCFC is to invest $3 million in Hamtramck Public Schools’ Keyworth Stadium and rennovate it to meet higher standards for the team. Their anticipation is to join either the United Soccer League or the North America Soccer League ; both leagues being in the third tier, above the current NPSL that DCFC resides.
Via crainsdetroit.com, the team reported that:
“The proposed plan would include making structural improvements to the grandstands, and updating locker rooms, public restrooms and lighting. The goal is to get the stadium operational with a 6,000-spectator capacity ahead of the 2016 season with room to expand, the team said in a news release.
The rehabilitation of the 79-year old stadium would be funded by a combination of club funds, small-business loans and a community investment campaign, the team said.
Hamtramck Public Schools would retain ownership of Keyworth Stadium, and DCFC would lease the facility.”
Also in the report, the team takes a subtle barb at the Detroit Pistons’ move to Auburn Hills away from Detroit:
” ‘DCFC potentially moving to Hamtramck is not like moving to Pontiac or Auburn Hills,’ the team said in a statement about its move from the city. ‘Hamtramck has its own identity and a proud history, but it shares the same never-say-die spirit as Detroit. The owners would make this move with the confidence that our supporters from the city of Detroit will be able to access our games just as easily at Keyworth as they were able to at our current venue.’ ”
The overall goal is allegedly to utilize this renovation as a springboard to building a stadium in Detroit itself in the future. This may be a very good sign for all those who have hoped and supported the idea of an MLS team in Detroit. These moves by Detroit City FC may be building toward that potential in the not so distant future. And for all of us in the D that love the sport of soccer and want an MLS team, this is some damn good news. Congratulations to Detroit City FC!