Detroit City FC to play West Coast-heavy schedule in professional debut

Larry O'Connor
The Detroit News

Detroit City FC will have to hitch up the wagons and cross the country four times to play in West Coast hubs as it makes the transition to the full-time professional ranks in the fledgling National Independent Soccer Association.

NISA released the spring schedule for the eight-team third-tier circuit, which kicks off the weekend of Feb. 28-29 with four matches, including DCFC playing at LA Force Friday, Feb. 28, and the Pontiac-based Michigan Stars taking on Cal United Strikers on Saturday, Feb. 29.

Detroit City FC will play seven home matches this spring at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck.

Le Rouge will host the Oakland Roots on Saturday, March 21, at Keyworth Stadium to open home portion of their schedule. DCFC plays seven home matches -- all on Saturdays -- as part of a balanced slate. Kickoff times are yet to be determined.

West Coast jaunts are not unfamiliar to the eight-year-old grassroots club, which has forged an international reputation for its raucous support. Last fall, DCFC traveled to the Bay Area to play Napa Valley 1839 FC in the NPSL Members Cup tournament, which the Le Rouge won with an 8-1-1 record.

"It's something we budgeted for as a professional team," said Sean Mann, Detroit City FC CEO and co-owner. "Thankfully, we have a great airport that allows many different options for reasonable flights."

The team is expected to announce a new jersey sponsor within the next week. On the player front, there have been no major roster announcements since the Members Cup championship in October.

The club did lose stalwart defender Jalen Crisler, who signed with USL League One side Forward Madison last week. The center back played 1,244 minutes in Le Rouge's Great Lakes Division title campaign, notching a goal, and started every Members Cup match, logging all 900 minutes while adding another tally as DCFC won the 10-match tournament.

DCFC held an open tryout Saturday at Detroit City Fieldhouse, which was closed off after 65 players signed up. Three to five hopefuls are expected to be invited to a team training session.

Detroit City FC 2020 NISA spring schedule

Date, Opponent, Kickoff, Venue

►Feb. 28, Friday, DCFC at LA Force, 10:30 p.m., Jessie Owens Stadium, Cal State

►March 21, Saturday, Oakland Roots at DCFC, TBD, Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck

►March 28, Saturday, Michigan Stars at DCFC, TBD, Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck

►April 4, Saturday, DCFC at Oakland Roots, 8:10 p.m., Laney Football Stadium

►April 11, Saturday, Chattanooga FC at DCFC, TBD, Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck

►April 19, Sunday, DCFC at Cal United Strikers, 7 p.m., Championship Stadium at Great Park

►April 25, Saturday, 1904 FC at DCFC, TBD, Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck

►May 2, Saturday, DCFC at Chattanooga, 7:30 p.m., Finley Stadium

►May 9, Saturday, DCFC at 1904 FC, 10:04 p.m., Lincoln High School, San Diego

►May 16, Saturday, LA Force at DCFC, TBD, Keyworth Stadium

►May 23, Saturday, DCFC at Michigan Stars, Ultimate Soccer Arenas Outdoor Stadium, Pontiac

►May 30, Saturday, Cal United Strikers at DCFC, TBD, Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck

►June 6, Saturday, DCFC at Stumptown Athletic, 7:04 p.m., OrthoSoccer Complex

►June 13, Saturday, Stumptown Athletic at DCFC, TBD, Keyworth Stadium, Hamtramck.