After five years of building fan support and name recognition in independent soccer’s fifth tier, Oakland County FC will make the jump to fourth-level USL League Two in 2020.
OCFC joins AFC Ann Arbor, which recently announced it was also moving to USL2 from the National Premier Soccer League, and reigning national champions Flint City Bucks in the league’s Midwest Division.
OCFC plays its home matches at Clawson Stadium. Last season, the team finished fourth in the United Premier Soccer League Midwest Division and shared the Michigan Milk Cup with the Bucks after the final was canceled due to inclement weather.
The purple-hued outfit is owned by Nick Morana and Theo Foutris but also has supporters trust where people buy a stake in the club. The team has 157 investors, according to its website.
“We couldn’t be more excited for this move and what it means for our players,” Morana said in a written statement. “But most importantly, this move will be fantastic for our fans. Our club is evolving through adversity, and we are more than ready for this new era.”
USL2 clubs rely on non-paid college players to fill rosters. Due to the league’s national reputation, though, teams typically draw elite talent as it’s seen as a viable path to Major League Soccer and Europe.
More than 70 percent of players taken in the MLS SuperDraft since 2010 have USL2 experience
“With the ever-changing American soccer landscape, the move to USL League Two will position our club in the country’s proven elite pre-professional league,” Foutris said in a written statement. “We look forward to our club’s continued growth as a member of League Two.”
The club launched in 2014 as Oakland United FC, playing in the former Great Lakes Premier League. OCFC played at Stoney Creek High and Royal Oak High before settling at Clawson Stadium in 2018.
OCFC drew a club-record 707 spectators for a July 2017 when it hosted Muskegon Risers.