Detroit City FC will honor two players Friday who were pillars during the club’s formative years as a semi-professional club punching well above its weight.
Defender Seb Harris and midfielder Dave Edwardson wrapped up their respective DCFC careers last season during the club’s National Premier Soccer League Great Lakes Division championship run.
A testimonial match featuring an array of DCFC alums will take place on Detroit City Fieldhouse’s East Field as part of an overall season kickoff party from 6-9 p.m.
Le Rouge opens a new chapter when the team makes the jump to the professional ranks in the new National Independent Soccer Association on Friday, Feb. 28, against the LA Force at Cal-State Los Angeles’ Jesse Owens Stadium.
Velvet paintings of the iconic pair will be unveiled during Friday’s festivities, which also include a meet-and-greet with members of the 2020 squad. The renderings will adorn Detroit City Clubhouse’s wall next to the ones of Josh Rogers, Cyrus Saydee and the team mascot.
Harris' and Edwards’ legacies will endure in hearts and minds.
“Those two guys are just legends of the game,” said midfielder George Chomakov, who is one of the team’s mainstays returning this season. “The club would not be here if it wasn't for those two. The amount of sacrifice and work and effort they put into Detroit City, as a whole, is just truly amazing. They are just two amazing people, not just on the field but off the field. They are really good guys, really good people.”
Harris, 32, who is from Rochester and starred at Oakland University, played in the rouge and gold 45 games from 2014-19. His unbridled goal celebrations — which ranged from full-belly slides to windmills later in his career — became a legend among DCFC faithful.
The burly defender recalls the most memorable goal being his first for DCFC late in a match against Cleveland in 2014 at Cass Tech.
“I call it the header that was never seen but heard,” said Harris, who put away three goals in 17 appearances that season.
“I ran and slid on my stomach in front of the crowd, and there was so much smoke going on, that’s why I say it's a header that was never seen, but you could hear it.”
Another moment Harris recalls fondly is DCFC’s first match at Keyworth Stadium in May 2016, which ended in a 1-1 draw to AFC Ann Arbor before 7,410 spectators.
“You could feel it in the atmosphere; you could feel it in your bones,” he said. “It was a game to remember.”
Edwardson, 30, made 79 appearances from 2013-19 for DCFC. The spirited Newcastle, England, native was a captain who held teammates accountable and led by example with his uncompromising robust play in midfield.
“I can think of many times where things started to look sloppy, and you see him take control of the entire pitch,” said longtime DCFC supporter Amanda Jaczkowski. “That takes earned respect from other players.”
Testimonial matches in England traditionally are given to players who remained at one club for 10 or more years. Before mega-million dollar paydays, the celebrated player would be presented that night’s gate receipts as a token of appreciation. Today, feted players typically donate those proceeds to charity.
By contrast, Friday’s tribute to Le Rouge’s legends will be a low-key affair, highlighted by a kickaround among friends in a match featuring 20-minute halves with a 20-minute break in between.
Some DCFC luminaries slated to appear include David Dwaihy, Nick Lewin, Jeff Adkins, Zach Myers, Brad Centala, Jon Evans, Java Bautista, Spencer Thompson, Bret Mollon and Rogers. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
“We got a really good group of guys who have all played with us in the past and it should be a lot of fun,” Harris said.