Detroit City Football ClubDetroit City Football Club

Detroit City Football Club

Detroit City Football Club

Detroit's Minor League Soccer Team


     2014 season promises new players & new partners: sellout crowds expected at Cass Tech

    On May 10th, 2014 at Cass Tech high school, Detroit City FC will return to the pitch for the first game of it’s NPSL regular season. Following a 2013 summer that saw the team roll through the regular season with the best record out of all the National Premiere Soccer League’s (NPSL) almost 60 teams, Le Rouge has a new Conference, new players and - given the anticipation of the DCFC faithful - will be greeted by a number of new faces in the crowd when their season begins.

    _DSC7750-1 - Smoke fans after PK goalEntering it’s third season, Detroit City FC has put soccer in downtown Detroit on the map, drawing an average of 1,800 to it’s matches in 2013, and topping out at nearly 3,000 for the post-season Great Lakes Conference tournament in mid-July. This groundswell of support has continued into the off-season; as of the beginning of April 2014, DCFC has sold nearly double the amount of season ticket packages that it did for the entire previous season. Sell-out crowds are expected all summer long, and to ensure that every supporter of the team has a chance to secure their spot on the sidelines of the most memorable 90 minutes in Detroit sports, DCFC has partnered with sponsor and Detroit production company Gentlemen ( to produce a video promoting ticket options:

    Season tickets, individual tickets and group ticket packages are available for purchase online at:

    Le Rouge will take the field for the first time in 2014 in a pre-season scrimmage against Saginaw Valley State University. The match will take place at Hurley Field in Berkley, MI with the kickoff slated for 6pm. Admission is $5 and free to any season ticket holder as of 4/4/14.


    Many teams have joined the fast-growing NPSL in 2014, and as a result Detroit City FC calls a new conference home. This summer they will play in the Great Lakes West alongside four teams that are new to the league: Lansing United, Michigan Stars, Cincinnati Saints and Westfield Select (located near Indianapolis, IN). The Great Lakes East will comprise of familiar foes AFC Cleveland, FC Buffalo, and the Erie Admirals. Joining them will be the Ft. Pitt Regiment, a new club that plays just outside of Pittsburgh, PA. A third conference, the Central - comprising of teams from Quad City, Minneapolis, Madison, St. Louis and Eau Claire rounds out the Midwest Region.

    The post-season tournament will feature the 3 top teams in each conference, plus a wild-card team with the highest points-per-match finish after the regular season. The winner advances to a national tournament, which will be played in late July and early August.


    Fans and supporters can vote for DCFC favorite in Detroit Challenge Fellowship

    Ezekiel “Zeke” Harris, a Flint, Mich. native and three-year defender for Detroit City FC has been more on the attack off the field this winter.

    Harris is currently competing in the Detroit Challenge Fellowship, a leadership and professional development program that invites 30 of tomorrow’s leaders to live, work, play, and give around the greater Detroit area for one year.

    Out of the 850 initial applicants, Harris has made the cut to 175 contestants who are competing for a community vote on their respective application videos. The final stage of the selection process will send 70 people to interview with Detroit companies ranging from GM to United Way.

    _DSC6110-15 - Zeke applauds fans

    “I am competing in the Challenge Detroit fellowship that essentially attempts to bring the brightest minds in every field to experience Detroit and all it has to offer,” Harris said. “I believe they want to tell the side of Detroit that many forget to include when they talk about this great city. They forget the fact that there are opportunities here and better yet, a community intentionally staying in Detroit.”

    “Speaking for all of the owners, it has been a pleasure getting to know Zeke, both on and off the pitch,” DCFC co-owner Alex Wright said. “He shares our passion for the city.  He has already worked for our local congresswoman and experiences like that along with committing his summers to Le Rouge, has given him a deeper understanding of Detroit.  Zeke is exactly the kind of future young professional everyone says we want to see stay in town.  And speaking from a purely selfish point of view, I would very much like to see him stay and eventually transition from DCFC to my neighborhood DCFL team, the Corktown Pheasants.”

    Harris will graduate from the University of Michigan in May with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. As a member of the Michigan soccer program all four years, he started 71 of the 79 games he appeared in, accumulating seven goals and five assists.

    His success in college consistently translated to more success with DCFC, as Harris tallied one goal and five assists during the 2013 campaign.

    After guiding Detroit City to an undefeated regular season record last year, Harris needs your help!

    Give Zeke and the city of Detroit the support they both deserve. Below are the links about the Detroit Challenge fellowship, as well as the link to watch and vote for Harris’ video.


    “I got involved in challenge Detroit because I thought it would be a great opportunity to commit myself to learn not only Detroit's story, but the story of my own city Flint which has experienced many of the same problems,” Harris said.

    Fellowship information:

    Harris’ video:
    - Jeremy Summitt, DCFC Staff Writer


    Nearly a month ago, Detroit City FC landed an abundance of returnees that were sure to make the initial roster look promising. Now, a second wave of talent helps DCFC boast another lineup loaded with talent.

    This new group of players will play a critical role in Le Rouge’s quest to defend its regular-season NPSL title, all while getting the chance to experience what a summer at Cass Tech feels like.

    The club is pleased to announce the newest additions to its 2014 roster:_DSC5775-1 - Jacket logo tight

    Tyler Arnone, University of Michigan
    William Mellors-Blair, University of Michigan
    Colin McAtee, University of Michigan
    Michael Lamb, Saginaw Valley State University
    Connor Furgason, Western Michigan University
    Sean Hazen, Western Michigan University
    Moustafa Bazzi, University of Detroit/Nejmeh Sporting Club
    Brad Ruhaak, University of Akron
    Zach Vasold, Saginaw Valley State University
    Alex Isaevski, Saginaw Valley State University
    Craig Neal, Saginaw Valley State University

    Among the aforementioned newcomers to Detroit City FC, the second wave of roster additions also comes with some familiar faces. The following players who have suited up for Le Rouge in previous seasons will make their way back to Cass Tech this summer:

    Luke Diener, Oakland University (graduate)
    Ezekiel “Zeke” Harris, University of Michigan (graduate)
    Zach Schewee, Bowling Green State University (graduate)
    Nick Lewin, University of Michigan
    Bret Mollon, Coastal Carolina (coaching staff)
    TJ VanSlooten, University of Michigan

    The culmination of established players and young talent should bode well for both the energy level and depth of head coach Ben Pirmann’s squad. He enters his second year at the helm of DCFC after leading the team to an undefeated regular-season record in 2013.

    “We lost talented players to the professional ranks and college graduation, so we have massive holes to fill from the record setting 2013 team as well as the inaugural team that Coach Stannard put together in 2012,” Pirmann said. “However, we have some new additions to the squad that will not only provide quality depth and competition, but a few players that will bring an immediate impact.”

    Photo courtesy of Photo courtesy of

    The leader of the group of new players that Pirmann may look to to play a pivotal role in will be midfielder Tyler Arnone. He was a top target for DCFC for the upcoming season. With a long lineage of Wolverines that have put on the Le Rouge kit, and the club’s string of success in just two years of operation, Arnone’s decision became rather simple.

    “When (Michigan) coach (Chaka) Daley told me that I could play for DCFC this summer I couldn't let this opportunity go by,” Arnone said. “DCFC has such an amazing reputation in the soccer world, especially here in Michigan. For me, it’s going to be a great honor wearing the DCFC jersey and playing in the NPSL.”

    Arnone was named midfielder of the year in the Big Ten conference this season, scoring two goals and recording five assists along the way. His presence at the central midfield position has anchored Michigan’s success in past season on both the attack and in the defensive third.

    Though Arnone should be the most intriguing new player to watch this upcoming season, the rest of the additions could also find their way into roles within Pirmann’s system.

    William Mellors-Blair hails from England, and is a recent transfer from Georgia State to Michigan. He was deemed one of the top freshmen in his class last year, and didn’t disappoint as he was selected to the all-rookie team in the Colonial Athletic Association.

    Colin McAtee figures to position himself as a high-pace midfielder this summer, as he brings a load of experience to DCFC. McAtee scored one goal and dished four assists in 15 starts for the Wolverines in 2013.

    Another transfer student, Michael Lamb is an established center defender who made the move from Oregon State to Saginaw Valley State in 2012. This season, Lamb was named defender of the year in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

    Connor Furgason is a Plymouth, Mich. native, and despite appearing in just three games after battling injuries in his freshman season, he’s well known as a quality center back that will add depth to a talented defensive group. His collegiate teammate, Sean Hazen, is a right back with some grit and a knack for finding ways to win games.

    Moustafa Bazzi stands as one of the more unique additions to the team. He’s played for both the University of Detroit and the Nejmeh Sporting Club in Lebanon. With Detroit, Bazzi played in 16 games during his junior season, helping the Titans win their first-ever Horizon league championship. The Nejmeh Sporting Club signed Bazzi in September, and is known as one of the top clubs in Lebanon.

    Brad Ruhaak was a steal from AFC Cleveland, where many of his Akron teammates have played in past summers. Ruhaak was redshirted his freshman season, but played a full 90 minutes in the Zips most recent spring game, a 3-0 victory.

    Zach Vasold, Alex Isaevski and Craig Neal all hail from Saginaw Valley State. Vasold had one goal in 20 appearances this season, while Neal scored three goals that were all game winners. Isaevski is a local player from John Glenn High School of Westland, Mich. and did not see action this past season.

    _DSC6361-18 - Detroit skyline. ball in airWith spring upon us, and the countdown to the end of May inching closer and closer, Le Rouge’s roster continues to improve. As for Pirmann and his squad, they’re looking forward to the first kickoff at Cass Tech as much as the DCFC faithful have been itching to return all winter.

    Until that glorious day comes, mark those calendars and look forward to greeting each new face with open arms, elaborate tifos and a hearty serenade.

    -- Jeremy Summitt, DCFC staff writer


    Detroit City Supporters, Followers, and Fans:

    In just two years, Detroit City FC has proudly become one of the most compelling stories in minor league soccer. Thanks to the many efforts of Detroit City’s staff, players, and die-hard supporters, the club has already achieved tremendous success and earned a great deal of attention and respect from the national soccer community. That said, our original goal as an ownership group remains at the forefront: we wish to become a sustainable organization that can highlight our beloved city and the beautiful game.

    In 15 years, we want our kids wearing our jerseys not because they found them in a resale shop, but because we have a game that weekend. In our vision, sustainability means instilling in college coaches around the Midwest a confidence that sending us their top players will give those boys the opportunity to hone their skills and gain the invaluable experience of playing in an electric atmosphere. It means selling out every game so that we can retain the highest caliber players in the area and appeal to the type of sponsors that could one day help us to build a pitch of our own. It means creating an interface between supporters and players that is one-of-a-kind, and building upon our already-extensive fan base. It means Detroit City FC becoming one of the only 4th-tier soccer teams in the US to hire a full-time general manager—a step we are proud to say has already been taken. And above all else, sustainability means that for all events, at all venues, we are welcome and respected guests.

    There is nowhere we would rather play than Cass Tech; they have been great to us, and we owe them the same. In order to maintain our good standing as tenants, we are going to be making the following changes to our game day experience:

    • Chants, signs, and tifos that contain the F-word will not be permitted.
    • Scarves or apparel with the F-word are not to be worn inside the stadium. Please leave them at home or in your car.
    • As was the case in past seasons, alcohol will not be permitted inside the stadium or on DPS property.
    • Fans will not be allowed re-entry into the stadium.

    Simply put, we believe the aforementioned regulations are necessary if we are to achieve our ultimate goal of becoming a sustainable organization.

    When fan favorite Adam Bedell was injured early in the 2013 season, we saw the look on his face as he was left for the hospital, and we shared his concern that playing for DCFC might have negatively affected his dream of one day playing professional soccer. A few games later, when Adam returned to the stands, his wrist wrapped in a cast, we saw a much different look on his face. As Adam looked across the field toward the supporter’s section, he was greeted with a giant tifo that had been created in his honor: it read, “GET WELL BEDELL.” Adam hung it in his dorm room, trained, rehabbed, and got fit just in time for his final season as a college soccer player. Months later, he was drafted and signed by the Columbus Crew; he has already played in his first official match, a 3-0 win over DC United.

    There is no other team in the US – on any level – that can tell a story like that. DCFC has the most passionate and creative supporters in the country, and their connection to our players is unparalleled. Preserving and strengthening that connection guides us in every decision we make—so too does our desire to present our beloved Detroit in a way that makes her the envy of the national soccer community. We plan to be around for a long time to come. And we hope that you, our supporters, will trust that these changes have been designed with that very plan in mind.

    City ‘til We Die,

    David Dwaihy
    Todd Kropp
    Sean Mann
    Ben Steffans
    Alex Wright


    The soccer community in Detroit just got a little bigger. Detroit City FC has made a new addition to their organization, in the form of their first full-time hire. He’s not a player, nor a coach. Instead, he’s a man with Detroit roots and a longing to make his way back to the metro-Detroit area and revitalize the city. detcity_logo

    Meet Donovan Powell, the first-ever General Manager of DCFC. Powell was hired in early February to create stability and growth for a club that already ranks among the National Premier Soccer League’s elite. He hails from Toledo, Ohio, but he’s made lasting and special connections with the state of Michigan.

    Powell has family in the Detroit area, and fondly remembers sitting on his grandfather’s lap as a child while listening to the great Ernie Harwell broadcast the Detroit Tigers’ games in the summer. His path from spending time with his grandfather to becoming the GM of DCFC has been long, but rewarding. “I’ve always felt like Detroit, this area, was my home,” Powell said. “I’m very passionate about this area. I’ve always wanted to come back to Detroit.”

    After graduating from Clay High School in 2001, Powell became a member of the United States Marine Corps. He was first stationed in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. before heading to Iraq in 2005 where he became a sergeant when Operation Iraqi Freedom was in its beginning stages. Upon returning to America, Powell pursued a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Business at Bowling Green State University before obtaining a master’s in Sports Management at Drexel University.

    He’s worked for USA Football, which is the official development partner of the NFL, the NFLPA, and all 32 NFL teams. His main responsibility included running camps for high school players to make that next step to playing collegiately. In nearly two years, Powell managed teams of interns and staff, while increasing brand awareness and generating revenue for the organization.

    Less than a year ago, Powell received a job with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, where he worked as a Sales Representative to increase season ticket sales and build relationships with local business owners. He was so successful in boosting revenue for the organization that he was offered a promotion just a couple of weeks ago.

    But at the same time, Detroit City FC came calling. He pushed aside the promotion opportunity and pursued the chance to come back to Detroit and work with its rapidly growing soccer community. Powell found the job opening on a site that is geared toward finding sports professionals, and immediately reached out to the club’s ownership. It was 9:30 pm on a Monday night, and Powell was home with his wife. The phone rang. It was Todd Kropp, one of DCFC’s co-owners, who told Powell that the club wanted to go forward with hiring him. It was an evening to celebrate, and soon after Powell could finally make his way north.

    His first day on the job was Monday, Feb. 10. After spending much of the day setting up his new office, Powell has now been able to get acquainted with his responsibilities and goals for the upcoming season.

    Those duties include: hiring an intern base and overseeing the group, increasing ticket sales DCFC include: hiring an intern base and overseeing the group, increasing ticket sales, (in the 2013 season home games averaged over 1,800 people), developing marketing and brand awareness strategies, developing marketing and brand awareness strategies, executing game day operations, garnering sponsorships, and working with media.

    He’ll be a busy man the next few months, but Powell wouldn’t have it any other way.Slider1 “It’s that kind of thing where I’ve always had a love and passion for the city,” Powell said. “I wanted to come back here and really put my roots down, and an opportunity like this — to oversee the organization here — was something I couldn’t pass up.”

    He’s had the chance to speak with all of the owners — Kropp, Alex Wright, Sean Mann, Ben Steffans and David Dwaihy — and good discussions about the upcoming season have already come to fruition. Embedded in Detroit’s roots, they decided good food would compliment the quality discussion, giving Powell a taste of Slows BBQ and some DCFC sponsorship.

    As the new General Manager, he hopes to make more of an impact on the city, alongside what he’ll be accomplishing with the club. “One of our slogans here is ‘Passion for our city, passion for our game,’ “ Powell said. One of my most important missions is to really deliver on that message. To have this whole soccer community rally around the city, I take that very seriously. I’m going to do everything in my power to build on the city.” _DSC6920-123His goal is to make summer nights at Cass Tech those events that residents of Metro-Detroit would hate to miss. Building on an already solidified foundation from the past two seasons, Powell expects this summer to be the most successful yet. He might have grown up listening to Ernie Harwell, but now he’ll transition into being serenaded by the booming voices of the Northern Guard.

    With that, summer just got a little better.

    -- Jeremy Summitt, DCFC Staff Writer

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