Hamtramck — Detroit City FC continues to build its global portfolio, adding Italy Serie B Frosinone Calcio to this season's international slate of friendlies.
Le Rouge hosts the Italian side Tuesday, July 31, at Keyworth Stadium. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
By the time the European club arrives in the Motor City, though, it could find itself among Italian soccer elites Juventus, A.C. Milan, Inter and Roma. The second-division outfit from the central part of Italy is in the thick of a hotly contested promotion battle to Italy’s world-renowned premier division.
Frosinone Calcio, which finished third (19-15-8, 72 points) in Serie B behind Empoli (85 points) and Parma (72 points, minus-2 goal difference), is awaiting the winner of the playoff match between Bari and Cittadella in a two-legged semifinal.
Added to the drama was the postponement of the playoffs by a week due to Bari possibly being deducted two points by the Italian soccer federation related to irregular payments. A ruling is expected Friday.
Bari’s loss of points would give Cittadella home-field advantage in their match, which was rescheduled to June 3 from Saturday.
The winner plays Frosinone June 6 and 10. Palermo takes on Venezia or Perugia in the other semifinal.
Promotion to Serie A will be decided over a two-legged final June 13 and 16.
The intrigue across the Atlantic only adds to the cachet of another international visitor, which the Detroit semi-professional soccer team is getting quite adept at hosting.
"It came about very quickly," said Alex Wright, DCFC co-owner. "They already had a trip to Canada planned and reached out.
“Due to our other high-profile international matches, they knew about DCFC and they recently visited our club office in Hamtramck. After a few weeks of hammering out the details, everything came together.
“Frosinone is a very good club, making a run for promotion. It’s an honor to host yet another accomplished and talented European club.”
Last Saturday's encounter with Germany second division FC St. Pauli drew 7,262 fans at Keyworth, a sellout. DCFC hosts Mexico's first division Club Necaxa, July 10, and Windsor TFC, July 24. Those Tuesday matches both start at 7:30 p.m.
The St. Pauli match indirectly put the Frosinone encounter in play.
The Bundesliga club could only play DCFC at the end of its German season with the stipulation the friendly would be canceled if St. Pauli was involved in a playoff for relegation or promotion.
With the Hamburg team struggling late in the season and DCFC promising two high-profile international friendlies to its fan base, team owners started considering contingencies.
Word reached Frosinone, which planned to train in Toronto as part of a Canada tour. The club enjoys Canadian support, including from fans in Windsor.
“So, we started those conversations as kind of a safety net in case St. Pauli couldn't make the trip, so we could get that second international friendly in place,” said Sean Mann, DCFC co-owner. “Then word started getting out about us potentially playing Frosinone and out of the blue all of these Italian groups in town started reaching out to us and wanted to buy blocks of tickets.
"Before we knew it there was a buzz about a match we hadn't finalized yet."
The match with Frosinone Calcio marks the second time DCFC has played an Italian Serie B side. Last season, Le Rouge defeated Venezia FC, 2-0, at Keyworth.
General admission tickets for the Frosinone friendly are $15. Season ticket holders will be admitted free.
“To play a Liga MX team (Necaxa) and (possibly) a Serie A team and one of the most famous German clubs all in one summer and this match is free for season ticket holders,” Mann said. “So, all that and the NPSL season for $80, we think is a pretty ridiculous value for a sports team.”