After several years of success, Detroit City FC could make the leap to a new league, though additional investment will be needed.
The emergence of Detroit City FC has been one of the more well-documented stories in the National Premier Soccer League over the last several years. Starting with their debut season in 2012, the club has posted solid attendance figures, a trend that continued last season at Keyworth Stadium. The organization moved into that facility in 2016, and raised over $700,000 for renovations that, among other updates, have expanded the venue’s seating capacity.
Moving forward, Detroit City FC is strengthen its case to join a professional league–perhaps either the NASL or USL. While the market size combined with the business success Detroit City FC has had over the years make it an intriguing fit for either league, club officials are stressing that additional investment is needed.
The move to the NASL or USL will come with several expenses the team does not assume as a member of the NPSL, including player salaries. Furthermore, the club is also expecting increased operating expenses as the result of more home games and an increased full-time staff size. Detroit City FC co-owner and COO Todd Kropp says that he and the organization want to ensure that the right investor can be found. More from Crain’s Detroit Business:
In the meantime, Kropp and his four co-owners need to find a wealthy benefactor. In the past, the owners have had what Kropp termed a “couple of serious offers” but they were not a proper fit.
“It’s difficult to find the right partner,” he said. The team isn’t disclosing names of who it’s talking to.
U.S. Soccer’s criteria for a club to qualify as a D-2 team is that the lead owner have at least a 35 percent stake and be worth at least $20 million, Sports Illustrated reported on March 30. To be a D-3 team, the lead owner must have a $10 million net worth. Kropp is a project manager at Henry Ford Health System, and his co-owners aren’t that rich.
DCFC, whose nickname is Le Rouge, doesn’t have a timeline for turning professional.
“There are active conversations under way,” Kropp said. “We’re ready to take this to the next level, as soon as we find the right partner. It would be a big change, but we’re ready for it. We’ve laid the groundwork over the past few years.”
Detroit City FC has been a member of the NPSL since its launch. Currently, the eight-team NASL and 30-team USL are playing this season at provisional Division II, and both leagues are looking to add more clubs down the road.
Image courtesy Detroit City FC.