Flint City Bucks to play seven home matches, five on TV

Larry O'Connor
The Detroit News

The defending United Soccer League 2 champion Flint City Bucks will play seven home matches — five of those to be televised on CW46 — as part of a 14-game regular-season schedule released by the league Thursday.

The Bucks open the season Saturday, May 15, against USL 2-debutante Toledo Villa FC at Atwood Stadium. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

Flint City Bucks players Yuri Farkas Gugliemi, left; Charlie Booth, Foster Appiah and Gustavo Vasconcelos share a moment with the USL League 2 trophy after a 1-0 extra-time victory over Reading United AC before 7,198 fans at Atwood Stadium in August 2019.

The season-opener will be televised on CW46 with Neal Ruhl and Gary Parsons doing the commentary. The CW46 is available in the mid-Michigan region, including Auburn Hills, Fenton and Brighton.

“This is a win for our players, sponsors, and fans,” Bucks president Costa Papista said in a statement. “With the possibility that stadium capacity may be reduced for the upcoming season, our expanded broadcast relationship will help us reach fans who are unable to attend Bucks’ matches in person.

“We are grateful to Sinclair Broadcasting, Kettering University, and to all our sponsors for making these live broadcasts a reality throughout our region again this summer.”

Ruhl and Parsons also worked when the station carried the Bucks’ six-game exhibition slate last year, which the team played after the USL 2 season was scrapped due to the pandemic.

The Bucks, who won the 2019 USL 2 national title before 7,000 fans at Atwood Stadium, went 6-0 against Michigan-based amateur sides.

Thursday’s schedule drop also revealed home dates for Clawson-based Oakland County FC, Kalamazoo FC and Grand Rapids FC, which are making their USL 2 debuts this season. Oakland County FC previously played in the United Premier Soccer League while Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids were members of the National Premier Soccer League.

Michigan-based clubs are congregated in USL 2’s Central Conference Great Lakes Division, which also includes Cincinnati Dutch Lions, Dayton Dutch Lions, South Bend Lions, Louisville City U23, Fort Wayne FC, Toledo and (Cincinnati) Kings Hammer FC. The top three finishers in the division qualify for the playoffs.

AFC Ann Arbor was to play its first season in USL 2 but opted to sit out 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic.

Flint Bucks FC home schedule

Day, date, opponent, time

►Saturday, May 15, Toledo Villa FC, 7:30* 

►Saturday, May 29, Dayton Dutch Lions, 7:30*

►Friday, June 4, Fort Wayne FC, 7:30

►Saturday, June 12, Kings Hammer FC, 7:30*

►Saturday, June 26, Grand Rapids FC 7:30*

►Tuesday, June 29, South Bend Lions FC, 7:30

►Saturday, July 10, Oakland County FC, 7:30*

*-TV on CW46

Oakland County FC home schedule

►Sunday, May 9, Fort Wayne FC, 5 

►Saturday, May 22, Kings Hammer, 7

►Wednesday, June 2, Kalamazoo FC, 7

►Saturday, June 5, Grand Rapids FC, 7

►Friday, June 18, Dayton Dutch Lions, 7

►Sunday, July 4, Flint City Bucks, 7

Home field: Clawson Stadium, West Elmwood Avenue, Clawson

Kalamazoo FC home schedule

►Saturday, May 15, South Bend Lions, 7

►Friday, June 11, Dayton Dutch Lions, 6:45

►Wednesday, June 16, Flint City Bucks, 7

►Friday, June 18, Fort Wayne FC, 6:45

►Sunday, June 20, Grand Rapids FC, 5:30

►Wednesday, June 23, Kings Hammer, 7

►Wednesday, June 30, Oakland County FC, 7

Home field: Mayors Riverfront Park, Mills Street, Kalamazoo

Grand Rapids FC home schedule

►Sunday, May 16, Fort Wayne FC, 7

►Friday, May 21, Kalamazoo FC, 7:30

►Friday, May 28, Kings Hammer, 7:30

►Monday, May 31, South Bend Lions, 6

►Wednesday, June 9, Flint City Bucks, 8

►Wednesday, June 30, Toledo Villa FC, 7

►Wednesday, July 7, Oakland County FC, 7

Home field: Midwest United FC Soccer Complex, 36th Street, Southeast, Grand Rapids