Detroit City Football ClubDetroit City Football Club

Detroit City Football Club

Detroit City Football Club

Detroit's Minor League Soccer Team

  • Detroit City FC Donates Goal of the Year Proceeds to Ruth Ellis Center

    Detroit City FC is pleased to announce its $1,000 donation on behalf of Staples to the Ruth Ellis Center, a social services agency that serves the needs of runaway, homeless and at-risk LGBTQ youth located in Highland Park, Mich.

    The donation was made possible after supporters voted Shawn Lawson’s (Oakland) stunning goal against Fort Pitt Regiment on July 11 as the 2014 National Premier Soccer League Staples Make More Happen Goal of the Year.

    City captain Josh Rogers (Michigan St.) and co-owner Sean Mann took to the pitch at Cass Technical High School to present Mark Erwin, Ruth Ellis Center’s Director of Community Development, with the check courtesy of Staples.

    Earlier in the season, Le Rouge raised more than $3,500 for the Ruth Ellis Center in its match against the Erie Admirals on June 6. The match promoted the national “You Can Play Project” and featured special commemorative jerseys that were auctioned off to benefit the shelter.

    Detroit City FC is proud to support the work that the Ruth Ellis Center does to make our community a safer and more inclusive place for some of our most vulnerable residents.

    For more information on the Ruth Ellis Center, please visit:


    It seems like just weeks ago the Northern Guard Supporters rounded the corner of Cass Technical High School in booming harmony, filling the sky with smoke and unfavorable chants about Ohio. The third season for Detroit City FC was just 30 minutes away, emotions were high, and fresh kits were ready to be debuted against the Cincinnati Saints._DSC3408-6

    Just 90 minutes later, Le Rouge was well on its way to a 3-0 victory. Clean sheets remained the theme of the season when playing in the cozy confines of Cass Tech, as DCFC rattled off three consecutive shutout victories at home to kick off the 2014 campaign.

    And when the season was all said and done, coming to a conclusion with a friendly against the Windsor Stars on July 23, City thanked their fans in a familiar manner — with a spirited performance to earn a 0-0 draw against a formidable foe.

    While shutout victories encapsulated the beginning and end of the season, a thorough mixture of highs, lows, and a dash of heartbreak were sandwiched in between.Untitled

    “It was a great season,” Le Rouge head coach Ben Pirmann said. “If you look at the amount of players we played and the amount of young players we played, you’d be astonished at the amount of guys that got good minutes. Not a friendly here or a friendly there, but good, league minutes. Most of these guys are from this area, so it was really important for our city.”

    Despite being pushed into the midst of conference realignment, Detroit City FC responded well against unfamiliar foes to post an impressive 8-3-3 record in the Great Lakes West Conference. Four inaugural clubs joined DCFC’s division — Lansing United, Michigan Stars, Cincinnati Saints, and Indiana Fire — but Le Rouge got the best of each club at least once, and often twice, throughout the year.

    A seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2) to start the season placed Le Rouge in a favorable position heading into the latter half if its schedule. But in the final five games of the year, City couldn’t string together consecutive victories. Injuries to several key pieces in the attack, including Jeff Adkins (Butler), William Mellors-Blair (Michigan), and Zach Myers (Saginaw Valley State), resulted in missed opportunities in the final third.
    DSC_2076 copyUltimately, the 2-1 and 3-1 losses to the Michigan Stars and FC Buffalo in early July resulted in missed opportunities to gain valuable separation from Lansing United in the conference standings. Those squandered chances would come back to bite Detroit City FC. On July 13, City needed a victory in East Lansing against Lansing United to advance to the playoffs. Anything less, and it would be the end of the 2014 campaign.

    A back-and-forth affair — in front of hundreds of Northern Guard Supporters who made the road trip — eventually ended in a disappointing 2-2 draw. With City pushing men forward all afternoon looking to garner a lead, Lansing United’s counterattack was threatening and became the deciding factor in eliminating DCFC from playoff contention.

    “As disappointing as it was to not get in the playoffs, looking back at the season you can’t help but feel really good about it,” said Detroit City co-owner and midfielder David Dwaihy. “From the standpoint of growing the game, as far as the mission of the club to be passionate about the game in this city, I think we’ve grown steadily and in a sustainable way and have exceeded our wildest expectations in that regard.”

    Just in the exhibition match against the Windsor Stars on Wednesday, July 23, many new faces made their season debut in front of an astounding 3,020 supporters — an attendance figure well over the season average for any of DCFC’s conference opponents.

    _DSC6785 copyBut surging attendance numbers were a common theme for Le Rouge in 2014, with the club reaching its first record sell-out crowd of 3,112 supporters on May 23 as City defeated Lansing United, 1-0. And the numbers continued to grow from there. A new record attendance was reached on June 6 when 3,234 supporters showed to watch DCFC draw a 2-2 score line against Erie Admirals SC, giving Le Rouge back-to-back sell-outs for the first time in club history. Not long after, the record would be smashed again, this time on July 11 against Fort Pitt Regiment when 3,398 supporters were in attendance.

    Along with increased attendance came the opportunity for more philanthropic events to benefit the city of Detroit. Staying true to the mission statement of DCFC, the 2014 season was dedicated to an adequate balance of on-field and off-field success.

    _DSC5016-10Detroit City FC’s home match against the Erie Admirals on June 6 was dedicated to the Ruth Ellis Center, a shelter that provides short-term and long-term residential safe space and support services for runaway, homeless and at-risk LGBTQ youth. Proceeds from an auction of player-worn commemorative jerseys raised over $3,500 for the shelter. In addition, Le Rouge began a partnership with United Way of Southeastern Michigan in the fight to end hunger in Metro Detroit.


    As always, the passionate Le Rouge supporters worked to make a difference off the pitch, too, raising $3,280 for the family of John Bieniewicz, the soccer referee tragically killed in early July. Because of the City supporters’ efforts, Detroit City FC owners pledged to match that amount. Along with the money raised, supporters commemorated the fallen referee with a stirring red card tribute’ in the 44th minute of City’s match against the Cincinnati Saints on July 6.

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    The 2014 season has set the bar for what Detroit City FC is capable of as a soccer team and a professional organization. Making strides to become involved with important community outreach projects continues to be at the forefront of the ownership’s mind.

    The camaraderie between the players, coaches, supporters, and owners continues to build a grassroots project into a recognizable and enticing event in downtown Detroit. Wednesday’s friendly proved the aforementioned statements to ring true, as supporters from both sidelines cheered on the ownership, coaches, and players when season-concluding announcements and thank yous were made at midfield. In those speeches, it was announced that Cyrus Saydee (Michigan State) was awarded the Black Arrow Award, given to the club’s most valuable player. Saydee was unable to attend the friendly, but for good reason. He is currently in the process of going through a professional tryout with Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC.

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    In addition,  Josh Rogers (Michigan State) was awarded a custom-built bicycle courtesy of Detroit Bikes for embodying what it means to be a part of the Detroit City FC organization since Year 1 and always playing with an unwavering passion and honor that is expected of the captain of the Gold and Rouge.

    The end of July marks the beginning of a 10-month period in which Cass Tech remains rather solemn and quiet. There won’t be smoke or the beating of drums, but the passion for DCFC, for the game of soccer, and for Detroit will resonate far beyond the confines of the stadium. Here’s to hoping those 10 months fly by as quickly as possible.

    We’ll see you in 2015.

    - Jeremy Summitt, DCFC Staff Writer


    It was halftime on Friday night at Cass Technical High School and there was an unfamiliar feeling sifting through the air. A sell-out crowd of 3,338 supporters was growing restless as the thought of witnessing Detroit City FC fall out of the NPSL Midwest Region playoff race was becoming more realistic.

    Even 10 minutes after halftime had ended, Le Rouge trailed 1-0 to Fort Pitt Regiment. The emotions were tense from the Northern Guard to the team benches to the family friendly grandstand. But finally, in the 56th minute, a strike from Latif Alashe (Michigan) rejuvenated everyone wearing Gold and Rouge and jumpstarted a comeback that comprised three unanswered goals en route to a 3-1 victory.

    “That was a total team performance,” said head coach Ben Pirmann. “The scout on them was they’re going to be good defensively, and really, really good and athletic on the counter. I knew we would score one, but my hope was that we didn’t concede another in transition.”

    Alashe cleaned up a scrum in the box by hammering home the much-needed equalizer before substitutes Shawn Lawson (Oakland) and TJ Van Slooten (Michigan) added a goal apiece to complete the energizing comeback. Lawson’s goal was one for the highlight reels, as he creatively cut left, then right to dust off a Fort Pitt defender and slip the ball into the back of the net.

    “I got the ball, looked up and saw one defender, so I cut him back, then I saw another one coming and cut him back again, and then I looked up and put it under the keeper’s hands,” Lawson said. “I was happy to get that one.”_DSC6811 copy

    Added Pirmann: “Shawn’s told me that he likes coming off the bench, he’s more comfortable. He’s our super sub, per se. He flies around, he buzzes, and more than anything he’s a good player. He has a knack for goals.”

    City’s win meant it would stay alive in the Great Lakes West Conference title chase, and simultaneously deny Fort Pitt Regiment a fine chance to clinch the Great Lakes East Conference and secure a spot in the Midwest Region playoffs. Ultimately, Fort Pitt’s one goal in the 25th minute was not enough to stave off the potent Le Rouge attack. Forward Lamine Balde netted the eye-catching goal in which he flicked a ball over a charging Bret Mollon (Temple) off a nice over-the-top ball from Sean Riley to grab the early lead.

    The goal DCFC conceded to Balde marked the first time City allowed a goal and ended up winning the match. The previous five home victories were all shutouts, while the only result that didn’t end with a Le Rouge victory was a 2-2 draw against the Erie Admirals on June 6.

    With Friday’s victory, Detroit City FC set up a date with Lansing United for a winner-take-all match on Sunday afternoon to determine who would be crowned conference champions and secure a spot in the 2014 Midwest Region playoffs.

    The importance of Sunday’s match created a memorable atmosphere at Michigan State’s DeMartin Field in East Lansing, Mich., as a few hundred Northern Guard supporters made their way into the stadium and never stopped singing until well after the final whistle. With Lansing leading DCFC by one point in the conference table, a win or draw would send United through to the playoffs, while Le Rouge could settle for no less than a victory. In a back-and-forth affair, City was never able to garner the lead as the two clubs exchanged goals en route to a 2-2 draw.

    “We moved the ball really well, we played a good game and got a little unlucky here and there, but it was fun,” Pirmann said.

    Early in the first half, Le Rouge players and supporters were in good spirit, but didn’t have all that much to smile about as DCFC found itself trailing early yet again. In the 19th minute, Lansing broke the scoring open when a perfect cross from Brian Cunningham set up Matt Brown for a header that sailed past Mollon to give Lansing the 1-0 advantage. Brown’s goal was his tenth of the season, which leads all players in the NPSL.

    After gradually narrowing the gap in scoring chances and the possession battle, Le Rouge began to find its groove by the 30-minute mark. As the pace began to pick up, an equalizer would qualify as a much-needed boost to Detroit City FC before the halftime whistle, and in fitting fashion Zach Myers (Saginaw Valley State) answered the call. He was brought down at the edge of the penalty area in the 35th minute, but got far enough inside for the referee to point to the penalty spot.

    Captain Josh Rogers (Michigan State) lined up behind the ball for the penalty shot and calmly struck the ball into the bottom-left corner for the all-important equalizer. City was back in the game and the playoff hunt, and anyone within a few hundred yards of DeMartin Stadium would have heard plenty about it from the Le Rouge faithful.

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    But even with the match tied, emotions continued to grow wearisome by the 60th minute as Detroit City FC was desperately searching for the go-ahead goal that would send them into the NPSL playoffs for the third consecutive season.

    Chance after chance came for City early in the second half, but Myers nor Shawn Lawson could finish a pair of glorious chances. Instead, in the 66th minute, Lansing United grabbed the go-ahead goal and began closing the door on Le Rouge’s playoff hopes. A turnover at midfield sprung a lethal counter attack in which Matt Brown slid the ball into open space on the right flank for Gabe Mateo, who took a couple steps and drilled a shot to the nearside post and past Mollon.

    “Out of the 90 minutes, it was about 85 minutes ours, and we got beat on the break twice, but that’s going to happen when you know you have to win,” Pirmann said. “They knew they had to tie, so they could be patient and try to counter and they did a good job of that.”

    More opportunities to find a second equalizer were present at resourceful times, but DCFC just couldn’t find the goal frame. Finally, Lachlan Savage (Saginaw Valley State) would smash home a loose ball inside the box during stoppage time, but it was too little, too late for a team who needed the coveted three points to claim a Great Lakes West Conference championship.

    “We moved the ball well, but we were missing so many guys that we were missing a little bit of a final punch,” Pirmann said. “That was our fifth game in nine days, so I literally don’t even know how half these guys are walking around right now.”


    Detroit City FC was forced to settle for a 2-2 draw and watch an inaugural NPSL team from its own state celebrate a memorable first season. Le Rouge was left wondering what could have been with previously winnable matches in which it fell just short of picking up the one or three point results that could have made all the difference when jostling for playoff position. Instead, DCFC will finish the regular season with an impressive 8-2-3 record and a +13 goal differential.

    A final hurrah for the 2014 campaign will take place on Wednesday July 23 when Le Rouge hosts the Windsor Stars in a friendly at Cass Technical High School at 7:30 p.m. Numerous player awards will be given out after the match, and it will give supporters one final chance to savor an evening of soccer on Grand River Ave in the heart of Detroit. Tickets for the match are still on sale online at

    - Jeremy Summitt, DCFC Staff Writer





    City Must Win Sunday's Game at Lansing or be Eliminated from Playoffs

    What Happened: With 3,398 people in attendance and hundreds more outside peering over the fences on the final regular-season match at Cass Technical High School, Detroit City FC scored three unanswered goals in the second half of Sunday’s match to earn a 3-1 victory over Fort Pitt Regiment. In front of a sell-out crowd, the win kept DCFC in the playoff chase with Lansing United who sit just one point ahead of Le Rouge in first place of the Great Lakes West Conference.  After Detroit City FC struggled to get anything going early on, Fort Pitt Regiment would get on the score sheet in the 25th minute thanks to a nifty goal from Lamine Balde. He received a pass over top of the City defense from Sean Riley and flicked the ball over a charging Bret Mollon (Temple) and into the back of the net. The 1-0 lead for Fort Pitt would hold until halftime, but City was far from finished.

    In the 56th minute, Latif Alashe (Michigan) found a loose ball in a scrum in the box and whistled home a crisp shot to net the much-needed equalizer. Since a draw would have likely done little for Le Rouge’s playoff chances, it continued to press in the latter part of the second half. In the 72nd minute, the eventual game-winning goal would come from Shawn Lawson (Oakland). He received a ball into the box from TJ Van Slooten (Michigan) and cut the ball to the left, then to the right, and finally struck a shot that rolled past the Fort Pitt goalkeeper and into the back of the net. The Northern Guard and the rest of the Le Rouge faithful exploded, knowing the dream of a second consecutive conference championship was still within grasp. Finally, Van Slooten would get on the stat sheet as a goal scorer in the 90th minute when he scored a goal similar to Alashe’s. Van Slooten found a ball near the penalty area that was drifting out to the top of the 18-yard box, and he headed it home to place the exclamation mark on a remark-able comeback victory.

    An Unfamiliar Victory: The 3-1 victory marks the first time all season that DCFC has conceded at home and emerged victorious. In the previous six home matches coming into Friday, City had earned five shutout victories and a 2-2 draw against the Erie Admirals on June 6. A win is a win, though, no matter how it’s done. Captain Josh Rogers (Michigan St.) said after the match that it was an important experience for the team to have a comeback victory like that, rather than constantly playing games in which DCFC would coast to 3-0 and 4-0 results.

    Want a Warm Welcome?: During the 2014 season, Detroit City FC has played 10 games against teams that are playing in their inaugural season in the National Premier Soccer League. Out of those 10 matches, DCFC has posted a dominant 7-1-2 record against the likes of the Cincinnati Saints, Lansing United, the Michigan Stars, and now Fort Pitt Regiment.

    Often times, the victories are those that sent the inaugural teams home with something left to be desired, as 4-0, 3-0, and 3-1 score lines were not uncommon in the aforementioned matches. A warm welcome often comes when you visit your grandparents’ house or when you catch up with old friends.

    But when the new clubs in the Midwest Region come face-to-face with Le Rouge, a warm welcome is rarely the outcome.

    CITY Sells Out: The 3,398 in attendance for Friday night’s game reflects the ultimate capacity for Cass Tech HS. An estimated 400 more individuals seeking gameday tickets were turned away at the gates. This policy will continue in the case of future sellouts, as space must be reserved for all season ticket holders at all games. Many who could not enter stayed and watched the game unfold from beyond the confines of the stadium. With a history of just three seasons and two dozen matches, Detroit City FC has become the hottest ticket in Detroit.

    Looking Ahead: Detroit City FC will play its final regular-season match at Lansing United on Sunday July 13 at 12 p.m. The winner of Sunday’s game will be crowned champion of the Great Lakes West Conference and receive the conference’s only birth in the Midwest Region playoffs.

    - Jeremy Summitt, DCFC Staff Write


    This weekend is about as big as they come for Detroit City FC.

    Looking to claim a regular-season conference title and a playoff berth for the second straight season, Le Rouge spent the week preparing to host Fort Pitt Regiment at Cass Technical High School on Friday July 11. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

    Two days later, on Sunday July 13 at 12 p.m., DCFC will visit Lansing United in the regular season finale for a match that will likely hold pivotal playoff implications. In the first meeting between City and United, Le Rouge came out on top, 1-0, thanks to a converted penalty kick from captain Josh Rogers.

    DCFC enters Friday’s match coming off its third loss of the season after dropping a 3-1 game at FC Buffalo on Wednesday evening. However, morale was somewhat high as Le Rouge were still able to secure the Rust Belt Derby trophy — an honor given to the team with the highest point total in head-to-head matches between AFC Cleveland, FC Buffalo, and Detroit City FC. The achievement marked the second consecutive season that the Rust Belt Derby trophy makes its way to Detroit.

    Meanwhile, across the region in the Great Lakes East Conference, Fort Pitt Regiment has strung together numerous victories lately — losing just once in its past eight games — to leapfrog AFC Cleveland in the conference standings. Most recently, Fort Pitt Regiment earned a 1-1 draw with AFC Cleveland on Wednesday after beating FC Buffalo 3-1 on Sunday July 6.

    Lansing United has enjoyed recent success as well, coming into the weekend riding a four game unbeaten streak. United crushed the Cincinnati Saints, 4-1, on July 4 before edging out the Michigan Stars, 1-0, on July 6. This weekend, Lansing plays host to the Indiana Fire on Friday July 11 before hosting DCFC on Sunday.

    Lansing United currently sits in first place in the Great Lakes West Conference with Detroit City FC breathing down its neck in second, trailing by only one point. A pair of victories this weekend would ensure that Le Rouge would win its conference and secure a playoff birth, no matter what happens in the other conference games.

    However, if City were to falter against either Fort Pitt Regiment or Lansing United, possible clinching scenarios are listed below. Each of the three division winners in the Midwest region qualify for the playoffs, as well as one wildcard team with the highest points per game from wins and draws out of all three conferences.

    DCFC clinches a wildcard birth if the Madison 56ers win OR draw against the Minnesota United Reserves AND Detroit City FC wins one match this weekend. But if the Minnesota United Reserves win that match, they clinch the wildcard position and Le Rouge must win its conference to secure a playoff birth.

    Detroit City FC can clinch the regular-season conference title with the following scenarios:

    • Win both matches against Fort Pitt Regiment and Lansing United.
    • If City loses Friday against Fort Pitt Regiment, it would need to beat Lansing United AND hope the Indiana Fire beats Lansing United on Friday AND that Indiana loses to or draws with Cincinnati on Sunday.

    Two draws this weekend against Fort Pitt Regiment and Lansing United will end DCFC’s season, sending Lansing United or the Indiana Fire to the playoffs as conference champions. Ultimately, it’s a win and you’re in scenario for Le Rouge, and the most crucial match to keep an eye on will be the Madison 56ers v. Minnesota United Reserves match on Friday since it determines if City still has a shot at the wildcard position.

    Everything is on the line in the final weekend of the season and Detroit City FC’s playoff push begins with the regular-season finale at Cass Tech on Friday. Don’t miss one of the final opportunities to see Le Rouge in action — tickets for the match are still on sale online at Gates open one hour before kickoff.

    - Jeremy Summitt, DCFC Staff Writer

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