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Detroit City FC has been approved by the National Independent Soccer Association as one of three new franchises in the nascent third-tier professional league, which kicks off full time in spring 2020.

DCFC’s bid was accepted along with Oakland Roots and Chattanooga FC. Representatives made their respective pitches at the NISA owner’s meetings last week in Pasadena, California.

Coincidentally, DCFC and Chattanooga meet Saturday in the clubs’ first National Premier Soccer League Members Cup play Saturday at Keyworth Stadium with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

Detroit, Chattanooga and Oakland joins Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Charlotte, Connecticut, Los Angeles, Miami, Orange County, Philadelphia, Providence and San Diego as markets in NISA, which will have a fall showcase.

Acceptance into a pro league is a major step for the eight-year Detroit organization, which has soared from a semi-professional outfit playing at Cass Tech High to one of international prominence due to its fiercely loyal grassroots following where crowds reach 6,000 to 7,000 at historical Keyworth Stadium.

All three bids are contingent on U.S. Soccer approval, which includes a site visit. The United States Soccer Federation board doesn’t meet again until September.  

“We’ve been preparing for this,” said Sean Mann, DCFC chief executive officer. “From our perspective, we’re ready to go. We have the training facility. We’re continuing to make improvements to Keyworth Stadium to make it a better facility. We’ve been building up to this for a while. We’re good to go.”

DCFC addressed one hurdle in the pathway to professionalism, restructuring its five-member ownership group to meet U.S. Soccer's requirement that one member has a 35-percent stake in the club and is worth at least $10 million.

Along with playing Chattanooga this season, Le Rouge fans will get a taste of NISA action this fall as DCFC meets Philadelphia in a home-and-home series of friendlies Aug. 31 at Keyworth and Oct. 26 at historic Franklin Field.

loconnor@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @larryo1961

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