Coach Ben Pirmann leaves Detroit City FC after seven seasons

Larry O'Connor
The Detroit News
Ben Pirmann

The man who has been known to Detroit City FC’s fervent supporters as “Caesar” will cease to coach its beloved soccer team

Ben Pirmann, 33, who has overseen the team during its formative years since 2012, is leaving to pursue other opportunities, the team announced Monday.

A search has started for Pirmann’s successor.

“Ben is leaving behind big shoes in terms of the impact he’s had on our club over the past six years,” DCFC CEO Sean Mann said. “We’ve already started a far-reaching search to find the right candidate that understands our club and can put a winning product on the field utilizing a professional roster.”

The announcement comes in the wake of Michigan State’s exit from the NCAA College Cup Friday night. Pirmann has served as an assistant coach at MSU since 2010.

No official announcement has been made about his next job, but it is believed he is in line for an associate coaching position with a pro team.

The move also comes as Detroit City FC is making transition to a professional outfit from a semi-professional one where it relied heavily on non-paid college players.

“So you know it was very tough to not take Detroit City to their new adventure,” said Pirmann, who was tagged with the Roman military general’s moniker by Northern Guard supporters due to his one-time mispronunciation of  “season” during an interview. “But I know whomever they decide to run the club on the sidelines is going to do a tremendous job.

“I know there's going to be a ton of people who want this job because the club is so massive and such a great club with such tremendous supporters, so you know it was definitely a very tough decision to depart.”

Pirmann amassed a 49-17-17 regular-season record with DCFC in the National Premier Soccer League, which was highlighted in 2017 by a magical run to the NPSL National final four, where Le Rouge’s hopes were dashed in a penalty kick loss to Midland-Odessa before a then-record crowd of 7,533 spectators at Keyworth Stadium.

Last season, Le Rouge finished a lackluster 5-4-3 and in fourth place in the NPSL Great Lakes West Division and in exited during the second round of the U.S. Open Cup after an extra-time defeat to FC Cincinnati.

Pirmann completed work on his USSF A senior coaching license this summer.

The Oakland Christian High graduate routinely commuted 90 miles to Detroit from the Lansing area while continuing his assistant coach duties at MSU, where he was a four-year letterwinner as a player from 2004-08. He worked as an assistant coach at Western Michigan for two years before returning to his alma mater.

“I've lived every second of my life in the state of Michigan, so we're going to be moving on to a different state,” said Pirmann about he and his wife Paige. “We're excited to be part of both Detroit City and the Michigan State families.

“It's very tough and very emotional for us. But you know we're really really thrilled with the new ventures that are going to be coming out the next week or two.”

Twitter: @larryo1961