The Detroit City Football Club gives soccer fans a new avenue of thrills.
By Nick Moratti
Photos provided by Detroit City Football Club
Their motto is “Passion for our city, passion for the game,” and it’s a feeling shared by its fans.
The Detroit City Football Club (DCFC) is about to start its fifth season as the popularity and appreciation of the team and the sport of soccer continue to increase.
“Our game-day atmosphere is unlike anything in Detroit or nationwide,” says Donovan Powell, DCFC general manager. “We promote a European-style soccer atmosphere, waving flags, lighting smoke bombs when we score; it’s a spectacle of passion and loyalty showing the fans’ commitment to our games.”
The DCFC was founded in 2012, and every year it gets bigger and better. Now the DCFC is the standard for other smaller clubs that are building their names and fan bases.
“We started from nothing and now average 8,000 fans per game,” says head coach Ben Pirmann. “Outside of the major league, the DCFC is a massive club in terms of on the field and results in competition.”
Now in his fifth year as head coach, Pirmann is pumped by how exciting the atmosphere of the games can be. There is genuine selfless support for the club by the fans. They want their team to win and so they’re loud and rowdy.
When Donovan describes the “European-style” game, he isn’t kidding. There are parades, chants and songs, often led by groups such as the Northern Guard Supporters, an independent supporters group for DCFC, which supports them in every way and everywhere.
“Our fans back us and support our community,” Pirmann adds. “Our fans do a tremendous job. They want to be involved, give our games atmosphere and this makes people outside of diehards want to come and see and experience it.”
No doubt this has helped give games a festival atmosphere, and word of mouth has helped the DCFC’s popularity explode to the point of sell-out games.
One fan, Bloomfield Hills resident Leno Corradi, experienced the madness firsthand. “I was at a game played at Cass Tech and a buddy of mine was on the team,” Corradi says. “I was really surprised. People were getting pretty rowdy and it was a very cool experience. One of the bleachers was all diehard fans, dressed up. They had cheers, chants. It was great to see that kind of support at a soccer game.”
The DCFC considers giving back to the community part of who they are. Every season, the team commits to a variety of charities such as Detroit PAL, Special Olympics and LGBT charities. The club’s mission is to find creative and interesting ways to uplift Detroit and Hamtramck.
Even the Northern Guard Supporters have joined in by supporting Hooligans for Heroes, a grassroots movement that works in conjunction with the Wounded Warrior Project to help bring aid and awareness to American heroes, on and off the field.
Games attract 8,000 attendees, thanks to the team’s new expanded seating at their home at Keyworth Stadium, 3201 Roosevelt St. in Hamtramck. Talk about community involvement: Hamtramck is one of the most culturally diverse cities in Michigan, and the food vendors show it!
The first goal remains creating a top-notch team. “When we started in 2012, we strived to bring high-level soccer to the city,” Powell says. “We offer the best area college players on our team. We recruit the highest-level players from the state, locally and regionally, and we attract some of the best players.”
This gives fans the chance to see players who go on and play in MLS (Major League Soccer) throughout the country.
“Don’t forget, besides the game, there’s a tremendous amount of great people-watching to do, so much to see, so much pageantry … it promotes an awesome festival atmosphere,” Powell says. “There’s always a lot going on, food trucks, local food vendors, games going on at the concourse. You really have to see it to believe it, and we’re gearing up for May 6, the first game. We expect to sell out, so come out and experience Detroit soccer!”
Coach Pirmann is also excited for the new season, enjoying an undefeated season in the past and hoping for more post-season success.
“This will be my fifth season,” he says. “I remember my first season. I was nervous, didn’t know what to expect, but my boss at Michigan State University has been a great mentor, guiding and developing me from an assistant coach at MSU to a head coach with DCFC.”
Pirmann is expecting another fun, crazy, exciting season and sees no sign of it letting up.
“Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the country and most of the world,” he adds, “and the DCFC is the only team in town. There are other competitors and leagues, but we’re the only club that represents Detroit. There is a cool factor to it and it’s really fun.” NS
Featured Image at Top of Page: Midfielder Cyrus Saydee, a Michigan State grad originally from Liberia.
For more information on DCFC, visit www.detcityfc.com and for more information on the Northern Guard Supporters and Hooligans for Heroes, visit noonelikes.us.