Sean Mann expected around 300 people for Detroit City FC’s first ever game in 2012 against AFC Cleveland. Instead, over 1,000 people showed up for the 1-1 tie with the eventual playoff champions.
Mann and his fellow co-founders knew they had something special. “It was obvious right away that there was interest in soccer in the city,” says Mann.
And since then, things have only gotten better. With the team about to enter its sixth year, Detroit City FC (alternatively, DCFC or City or Le Rouge) has improved in basically every metric. In attendance, for example, the team has grown every year—in 2016, the team averaged over 5,000 fans per home game. It renovated and relocated to a bigger stadium. Its operations have continued to become more seasoned. Its fans have gotten more sophisticated in their show of support. And it’s accomplished this all while maintaining the club’s distinctive culture and voice.
DCFC has been one of the great American success stories in both amateur sports and soccer. Now they’re exploring a jump to professional status.
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