Detroit City FC bolts struggling NISA for new home in USL

Detroit City FC, the symbol of the independent pro soccer movement, is moving.

Le Rouge is leaving NISA after two seasons to join the USL Championship in 2022. Such a move would have been unimaginable a couple of years ago.

Detroit City FC was founded in 2012 by the members of a local co-ed rec league and played in the amateur NPSL until 2019 when it joined NISA.

By then, it had become the most successful community-oriented club, drawing more than 5,000 fans a game for five seasons in a row after its move to Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck. The stadium was renovated with money raised by Le Rouge and filled with some of the most colorful and passionate fans in the country.

The Northern Guard Supporters were vocal about their distaste for the USL and its franchise model. The irony is, Detroit City FC is now joining the league its fans so detested.

Le Rouge dominated NISA, winning the fall 2020, spring 2021 and fall 2021 titles along with the 2020-21 league championship.

Detroit City FC isn't the first NISA team to join the USL Championship. Miami FC joined in 2020 and the Oakland Roots began play in 2021. (The Roots just upset the El Paso Locomotive in the conference quarterfinals.)

Detroit City FC move reflects the continuing growth of the USL, the expansion of its academy league and its move into women's soccer -- DCFC has launched a women's club in addition to its youth program -- as well as the problems the bare-bones NISA has had with its hands-off approach in the management of the league.

Sean Mann, the club’s founder, co-owner and CEO told the Detroit News:
“Frankly, we’ve just been building momentum and we didn’t want to lose that. As an organization, we’ve been growing for the last 10 years and been building up to this point. On the professional side, the men have been thriving. On the women’s side, we got the team launched. We now have 2,000 kids in our youth system. And so the move to the USL just provides a home that makes sense for all those entities."

Detroit City FC will continue to play in Keyworth Stadium but plans to make some stadium upgrades and add staff.
8 comments about "Detroit City FC bolts struggling NISA for new home in USL".
  1. R2 Dad, November 10, 2021 at 1:50 a.m.

    I'd like to see the US federal government impose a $10 million fine on USSF every time a professional club has to change leagues to survive. At what point does USSF become responsible for the churn?

  2. Chris Wasdyke replied, November 10, 2021 at 7:36 a.m.

    Federal government should not be involved in sports.

  3. Mark Fishkin replied, November 10, 2021 at 9:01 a.m.

    DCFC is a massive success story, and should be the stewards of their own success. Poor management by independent D3 leagues is the responsibility of those running those leagues, not the USSF. DCFC recognized that. Good for them.

  4. R2 Dad replied, November 10, 2021 at 9:43 a.m.

    USSF has enabled unstable leagues, treating the professional game just like the amateur one. It's the wild west out there.Why is USSF not accountable? 

  5. humble 1 replied, November 10, 2021 at 5:24 p.m.

    One of the charactaristics of USSF is that there is almost zero accountability.  They still try and blame HS and college soccer for the sad state of soccer play here, when the clear and unarguable mission of those sports is to supplement educational endeavors, thereby deflecting accoutablity for all the money they spend.  No one every really questioned why USSF was running MLS academies via the DA.  It went on from 2007 to 2020, thanks in no small part to the ladies, it was stopped.  MLS Next is finally making the clubs at least act somewhat like soccer clubs.  Carry on!   

  6. George Miller, November 10, 2021 at 10:27 a.m.

    Yes get the feds involved. They run things so well

  7. R2 Dad replied, November 10, 2021 at 11:27 a.m.

    I'm just kicking the hornets nest here, not proposing a real solution to this very real problem. No, the feds aren't great at implementation, but how do we get USSF to focus on the leagues/ structure problem? Why don't we have or need a USBBF, USBF or USFF, but we need a USSF?

  8. Tom Keene, November 10, 2021 at 12:54 p.m.

    they need a real field 75 yards wide not 66

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