Following an unforgettable 2013 season that included a Rust Belt Derby title, an undefeated regular-season record, and some of the highest attendance attendance numbers across the National Premier Soccer League, Le Rouge is on the cusp of flooding onto the pitch at Cass Technical High School for the first time in 2014. The club’s third season begins with a home opener Saturday, May 10 at 1:00 p.m. when City hosts the Cincinnati Saints at Cass Tech in Detroit.
Along with the start of a new season come several changes to the Midwest region’s conference alignment and playoff structure. DCFC has an entirely new slate of conference opponents, and no more are the days that Le Rouge will battle the Erie Admirals, AFC Cleveland, and FC Buffalo for a conference title.
Instead, alongside Detroit City FC, the Cincinnati Saints, Lansing United, the Michigan Stars, and Westfield Select make up the Great Lakes West Conference of theMidwest Region. Meanwhile, Erie, Cleveland, and Buffalo have moved into the Great Lakes East conference with the Fort Pitt Regiment.
But the rivalries made between City, Erie, Cleveland, and Buffalo over the past two years will remain alive and well. Throughout the course of the season, DCFC will square off against each opponent in the Great Lakes West Conference one time.
It is likely, however, that Le Rouge could face off against an old rival in the Midwest Regional playoffs. This season, the conference winner from each of the Great Lakes Central, East, and West Conferences will be guaranteed a playoff position. In addition, one wildcard team with the highest points per game average will be the final team included in the four-team playoff bracket. The host team for the playoff round will be one of the teams in the playoffs, and DCFC will likely make a run for that bid if all goes as planned.
In order to improve upon last year’s playoff run, Detroit City FC returns many players and the coaching staff of Ben Pirmann and Adil Salmoni for another season. Joining them on the sidelines with season will be Colby Cunningham. In the midst of all of the returning players, it’s inevitable that some new names will also deserve a hearty welcome as they step onto the pitch at Cass Tech on Saturday afternoon.
Below is the list of returning players, followed by a list of new additions to the DCFC roster.
Pirmann expressed that the majority of the new roster additions will provide “quality depth and competition,” while a few players should bring an immediate impact to the starting lineup.
Among those players that City supporters can expect to help guide the team to another spectacular season will be Thelen, Arnone, Lamb, McAtee, and Mellors-Blair. Arnone was named midfielder of the year in the Big Ten conference this season, scoring two goals and recording five assists along the way.
“He is a technical central midfielder that runs his team,” Pirmann said. “He will be a great addition to our already loaded midfield and can win us games both in the attack as well as transitioning in defense.”
Meanwhile, two of Arnone’s teammates at the University of Michigan — McAtee and Mellors-Blair — will look to fill in holes left from departing players such as Fabio Pereira and Adam Bedell, who signed with Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders andColumbus Crew, respectively.
“Colin is a good winger with tremendous pace that will compete for minutes in the attacking group,” Pirmann said. “William is a high profile transfer to (Michigan) who brings a load of talent and experience to the City squad.”
Anchoring the back line alongside captain Josh Rogers will likely be Michael Lamb, who recently transferred from Oregon State to Saginaw Valley State in 2012. In his first season with SVSU, Lamb was named defender of the year in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Along with all of the notable player announcements, the club is equally as excited to replicate the success of last year’s Hooligans for Heroes fundraiser with another charity match in 2014. This season’s fundraiser game will be played on June 6 against the Erie Admirals and the theme will be announced soon by the DCFC.
With the fundraiser only one month away and the NPSL season a few short days from getting started, Southeast Michigan can finally satisfy its craving for a soccer at Cass Tech. By noon on Saturday, the Northern Guard will be marching, the City players will be warming up, and hundreds of supporters will be filing into the grandstands, all leading up to the 1 p.m. kickoff against Cincinnati that can’t come soon enough.
All signs point toward another memorable season for Detroit City FC. Don’t miss any of it. $40 season tickets packages are still available as are tickets to individual game.