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.
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’ssquad. 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.”
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.
With 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.