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You read that right. Out of all of the teams in the entire city of Detroit, the two most consistent play “the beautiful game”. Soccer seems to bring the best out of Detroit teams and the performances of the Michigan Bucks and Detroit City F. C. are proof positive of that.
Both teams have combined for twelve division titles, 21 playoff appearances, and 65 former players that have been drafted or signed to MLS squads.
The Michigan Bucks have been the ultimate example of success at the semi-pro level of American soccer. Since their founding in 1995, the Bucks have missed the Premier Development League Playoffs only twice. This is even more impressive when you consider that the PDL has a total of 23 playoff spots (their bracket is very odd) shared amongst 67 clubs that comprise the PDL. That type of efficiency is ridiculous with how many teams the Bucks have to compete against. This is coupled with their two league titles in 2006 and 2014 along with two victories over MLS squads as well. They are a shining example of success within semi-pro soccer and have been one of the most consistent clubs in the entire sport.
The success of the Bucks even reaches beyond their own league. Within the soccer pyramid in the United States (think divisions in college football), there is a tournament called the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The US Open Cup is a tournament that is held for all tiers of US soccer to compete against each other. The Bucks have qualified for the tournament eleven times and advanced in the tournament five of those years. They even reached the fourth round of the tournament in 2012. They beat Jersey Shore Boca 6-0 in the first round, Pittsburgh Riverhounds 1-0 in the second round, MLS squad Chicago Fire 3-2 in the third round, and lost to the Dayton Dutch Lions 2-1 in overtime in round four. It was a truly impressive run for such a small club, and that wasn’t an anomaly, as they have qualified for the tournament for the four years since as well.
They have many records as a club as well. Among amateur teams, the Bucks hold US Open Cup records for most games played(25), most wins(13), most MLS teams faced(19), most professional teams defeated(9), and most MLS teams defeated(2).
The Bucks also have PDL records for most league victories(247), most playoff wins(26), most consecutive winning seasons(20), playoff appearances(18), division titles(12), PDL Final Four appearances(6), PDL Regular Season Championships(4), and PDL Tournament Championships(2).
Detroit City F. C.’s rise to become a respectable semi-pro club has been well chronicled by DSN. Their rise is well documented and remains a major success story for Detroit sports as a whole. The incredible part of DCFC’s rise boils down to their success since their inception in 2012. Their yearly records break down to finishing second, first, second, and second in their division. Le Rouge had a particularly spectacular 2013 campaign; going 11-0-1(tie) in the regular season, winning the Midwest-Great Lakes Division, and reaching the Great Lakes Division Finals.
Their success has been tailored to the fervent fan base they have attracted. The Northern Guard, in particular, have been an exceptional supporter group for Le Rouge and the team’s attendance grew so large that the club had to migrate stadiums. They moved to Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck and achieved their fundraising goals to renovate the stadium as well. Their growth was even further proven by a record-breaking attendance for their home opener this year. There seems to be nothing stopping the growth of DCFC and in due time, this team could very well influence the creation of a Detroit MLS squad.
Just for comparison’s sake, let’s bring in the Detroit Red Wings, Tigers, Pistons, and Lions into the picture. The Bucks in particular stack up favorably with all of the major four teams. Since 2000, the Pistons, Lions, and Tigers all have had numerous losing seasons along with a total of one title among all three. With that in mind, the only real team that can argue alongside DCFC or the Bucks boils down to the Detroit Red Wings. DCFC with its youth as an organization can only be judged so far. The real comparison breaks down to the Michigan Bucks and the Detroit Red Wings.
First and foremost, the Detroit Red Wings streak of 25 straight playoff appearances truly is a historical feat. However, since the year 2000, the Michigan Bucks and Detroit Red Wings have the same amount of league titles with two each. The Michigan Bucks also have the most recent title in 2014. Also, if we base the comparison around postseason success, the Michigan Bucks have reached at least their Conference Final 11 times; while the Red Wings have done so only four times. As mentioned above, the Bucks also hold numerous league records and have shown consistency in a league of over 60 clubs.
Both of these teams have had exceptional success and they have been overlooked simply because they play “semi-pro” level sports. Soccer has a rich history and a strong future in the Motor City and it’s about time we give respect where it is deserved. Detroit City F. C. and the Michigan Bucks are the true epitome of excellence in Detroit sports. Let’s hope they can continue to excel for all of us fans of Detroit sports.