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May 13, 2016: at Michigan Stars (NPSL Regular Season)

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May 13, 2016
Wisner Stadium, Pontiac, MI
NPSL Regular Season Match
Michigan Stars 2, Detroit City FC 2
DCFC Andre Morris (Ali Al-Gashamy) 5′
DCFC Tyler Stephens (Cyrus Saydee) 33′
MICH Joe Coombs (Keaton Levock) 50′
MICH Joe Coombs (Cody Archibald) 60′

Our season opened on the road, in Pontiac, where we ended last year’s regular season.  It was 48 hours after the amazing victory over the Michigan Bucks, and the Stars were carrying some familiar names and faces on their roster.  Aleix Souhy, Nicolas Jeausserann, Andre Landell, and keeper Tom Lohmann, were all on the Bucks roster the other night, while forward Shawn Claud-Lawson formerly wore the Rouge-and-Gold in 2014, scoring one of the prettiest goals we’ve seen.

As usual for road games, we brought the fans and the banners.

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They brought a band.  Nikki Holland & The Dirty Elizabeths.  I heard they were hired to drown out the NGS.  Next time, they’re going to need a bigger band.

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And of course, we shared our feelings about Dan Gilbert, Tom Gores, and Don Garber’s fantasy of putting an MLS team in Detroit…

This was the game for the defenders as all the goals were buried by defenders.  Andre Morris scored first in the fifth minute off this corner kick delivered by Ali Al-Gashamy.

Then, in the 33rd minute, Tyler Stephens scored from a Cyrus Saydee corner kick.

We held the 2-0 lead going into halftime.  However Stars’ defender Joe Coombs scored in the 50th then again in the 60th minute of the match, and the game ended in a deadlock.

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May 11, 2016: at Michigan Bucks(PDL) (Lamar Hunt US Open Cup)

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May 11, 2016
Oakland Soccer Field
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, First Round
Michigan Bucks 0, Detroit City FC 0 (3-4 PKS)

For the second year in a row, two opposing soccer forces met in the First Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The Michigan Bucks of the Premiere Development League have honed the skills of soccer players for over two decades.  They have won championships and set records within their league, and have eliminated Major League Soccer teams from this US Open Cup competition.  Though they have this tradition of excellence, it has been unable to generate any form of fan base.  They are about developing players and the game of soccer, and not a form of entertainment and community.

We, Detroit City FC, however, are all about the marriage of supporters and team.

With the recent talk of Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores drooling over the possibility of building a soccer stadium to lure MLS, the Michigan Bucks and Detroit City FC differ in philosophy with them, as well.  The Bucks only get large crowds (and by large, I mean barely enough to fill Cass Tech High School – the stadium DCFC outgrew), when they play an MLS team or us.  Its owner, Dan Duggan, though, has been trying to create interest in an MLS franchise that he could run, for years.  On the other hand, the huge fan base of Northern Guard Supporters want no part of MLS.  For us, our club is greater than the league we play in.

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One year ago, the first collision of competing philosophies took place on the pitch.  Le Rouge supporters filled the Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, but the Bucks dominated on the turf, winning easily by a 3-0 score.  This year would be different.  First, the game would not be played in the tin can, but on the Oakland University soccer field.  The Northern Guard occupied a section along the grassy hill below the bleachers, close to the pitch where the players could not avoid the taunts and chants.

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The Bucks controlled most of the play on the night, with Le Rouge sitting back, absorbing the pressure, then releasing the occasional counter-attack.  As the minutes wound down, the tension within the Northern Guard was palpable.  With no goals scored after ninety minutes, extra-time commenced.  Thirty minutes more of the stalemate took the game to penalty kicks.

The Michigan Bucks started with midfielder Tom Owens, who missed the goal.  Detroit followed with Seb Harris:

Bucks 0, DCFC 1

Midfielder Russell Cicerone stepped up next for the Bucks.  While his shot went on target, keeper Even Louro made the save.

For Detroit, Jeff Adkins stepped up to the spot.

Bucks 0, DCFC 2

The Bucks got on track when Adam Najem scored on his attempt.  Then, newcomer to Le Rouge, Tyler Moorman, took his shot.

Bucks 1, DCFC 3

Andre Landell closed the gap.  A goal by Matt Nance would put it away for Le Rouge.

Bucks 2, DCFC 3

The Bucks’ survival fell on the shoulders of Jordan Snell, who scored.  Danny Deakin stepped up for Le Rouge.

Bucks 3, DCFC 3.

Could this game be more dramatic?

Tied after the five shooters, it was now head-to-head.  The Bucks called upon Brad Dunwell, but Evan Louro came up big.

The match now hinged on this shot.  Brett Nason, another new face in the DCFC squad, took to the spot.

Coach Ben Pirmann, quoted in The Detroit News:

This is tremendous.  Like I said in the buildup, I think we wanted this a lot.  Last year we were naive – myself , my staff, my players.  This year, we were focused and I think you saw that after the first minute.  We played hard.  I told our guys the result will take care of itself, you have to be the hardest team on the field and we played the hardest.

The owners, they put all this time, energy, money and passion into it.  These fans, they’re crazy.  They’re the reason we won.  They get the man of the match.  For our community, for our city and for this club, this is a huge step forward to get the monkey off our back.

Co-owner, Alex Wright, quoted in The Detroit Free Press:

This is a community-run team that started five years ago in a bar in downtown Detroit and we just beat arguably the best amateur soccer team in America.

My favorite piece was written by Joe Hojnacki at www.LastWordOnSports.com:

The win was huge, obviously.  But, again, that isn’t entirely what this match was about.  It was about a culture thriving in the face of adversity.  It was a group of people who have built something spectacular not wanting their hard work to be destroyed by a bunch of men in suits with money coming out of their eyeballs.  Detroit City’s loyal fanbase wants to prove that they will not only survive, but be extremely successful regardless of what higher power brings top tier soccer to the city.

Tonight was only the start of that miniature war.  Get used to the theme of results not mattering, win or lose, throughout the upcoming NPSL season.  This entire year will be about the support that Detroit City FC is getting both locally, and nationally from other supporters groups and clubs at every level of the American soccer pyramid.  Their fans are loyal to a club.  Not a league.  Not a tier in a pyramid.  And not, most importantly, rich investors.

You can bet that every home match at Keyworth Stadium will feature the Northern Guard feeling as if they are doing battle with the establishment.  Yes, the wins that Detroit City will likely rack up will be nice.  But showing the world that Le Rouge and their culture will survive, whether they get involved in the MLS talk or not, will be much more important to the long term success story that is, and will continue to be, Detroit City FC.

The next afternoon, I was still feeling the hangover from the dramatic and emotional victory.  I posted the following on my Facebook page, which resonated with my NGS friends:

Dear Employer,

Please excuse your employee if he or she is a Northern Guard Supporter.  All of us are floating a few feet above the ground today due to last night’s historic event.  You had to be there to understand.  Gravity will eventually pull our feet back to the ground.  Allow us this period of euphoria and we will return to being the productive and hard workers you employed.  Just like our team.

Sincerely,

Michael Kitchen Esq.

 

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May 7, 2016: vs Muskegon Risers (Friendly)

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May 7, 2016
Hurley Field, Berkley, MI
Friendly
Detroit City FC 5, Muskegon Risers 1
DCFC:  Zach Schewee 11′
MUSK:  Daniel Luzindya 41′
DCFC:  Cyrus Saydee (PK) 44′
DCFC:  Tyler Moorman 61′
DCFC:  Alec Lasinski 70′
DCFC:  Javi Bautista 81′

The smoke.  The drums.  The flags.  The familiar faces, reconnecting with brothers and sisters from other mothers.

This is the Northern Guard Supporters.  This is the beginning of the 2016 Detroit City FC Season.

The promise of the 2016 Season created a lot of energy and buzz.  We were entering our new stadium.  We were going to host FC United of Manchester.  Five of our six opponents were located in the State of Michigan, the sixth in Dayton, (Fuck) Ohio.  And we were going to face the Michigan Bucks in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup again.

A friendly was played against the Windsor Stars in Windsor, Ontario on April 24, 2016, but I was unable to attend.  Crossing the border requires either a passport or State of Michigan Enhanced Drivers License, of which I have neither.  I do need to at least get the enhancement to my drivers license.  I do miss going into Canada.

Though the weatherman predicted rain, and the skies were gray, as it drew game time, the clouds parted and provided a spotlight on our team.  And they shined in it.  Our opponent, the neon-green, team-without-a-league, Muskegon Risers, provided a good tune-up leading into the game against the Bucks.

The Northern Guard Supporters were also in good voice, as they broke out a new song, and reignited the tetris.

It provided a good tune-up for me, as well.  Hobbling about the field due to severe discomfort in my right heel (later diagnosed as Plantar fasciitis), it still felt good to be back shooting supporters and soccer players in action.

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2016 Summary

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2016 Season

The Next Step

It was time for the next phase of Detroit City FC.  Having outgrown Cass Tech High School Stadium, the team needed a larger venue.  In September, 2015, before the Detroit Public Schools Showcase doubleheader, the team announced that it put in a bid to renovate Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck.  After gaining approval from the Hamtramck School Board, team ownership called out to the supporters.

October 29, 2015, at the Fowling Warehouse, Detroit City FC pitched their investment proposal.  The financial need to rehabilitate the eighty-year-old Keyworth Stadium was $750,000.  Supporters were asked to make an individual investment through a crowdfunding source – as low as $250, as high as $10,000 – under the Michigan Invests Locally Exemption Act.  The investor would then be repaid with interest over time from the team’s revenues.  The team set $400,000 as the goal that, once met, would free the funds early and allow the renovation work to begin.

On February 15, 2016, the closing date to invest, Detroit City FC raised $725,500 from 492 investors.

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There were a few other off-season developments.  First, it was announced that FC United of Manchester would play Le Rouge at Keyworth on May 28, 2016.  FC United of Manchester is a supporter-owned football club founded in 2005, which opened its supporter-funded stadium in 2015.

Then, the NPSL accepted AFC Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids FC, and Kalamazoo FC into the league, creating a predominantly Michigan division.  The Cincinnati Saints moved north to Dayton, and our seven-team, twelve-match division looked like this:

  • AFC Ann Arbor
  • Dayton Dynamo
  • Detroit City FC
  • Grand Rapids FC
  • Kalamazoo FC
  • Lansing United
  • Michigan Stars

This divisional realignment meant that AFC Cleveland and FC Buffalo would no longer play us during the season.  Talks took place.  AFC Cleveland declined and FC Buffalo agreed to a home-and-home friendly to continue the supporter-based Rust Belt Derby.

Finally, the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.  Once again, Le Rouge were to meet the Michigan Bucks.  On their turf, this time outside at Oakland University instead of their big tin can.

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The 2016 Season ended with a league record of four wins, four losses, and four draws, finishing fifth in the Great Lakes West Conference.  By those numbers, an average season.  However it was anything but average.  There were spectacular highs and gut-wrenching lows.  Still, Detroit City FC…

  • Defeated the Michigan Bucks.
  • Took Louisville City FC of the USL, to penalties in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
  • Featured on the front page, above the fold, of The Detroit Free Press the morning of Keyworth Stadium’s opening match.
  • Swelled Keyworth Stadium opening night with 7,410 fans.
  • Hosted FC United of Manchester and played to an exciting 3-3 draw before 6,245 fans.
  • Won fourth consecutive Rust Belt Derby.
  • Endured a spell of six matches in twelve days, which included both US Open Cup matches.

And with chatter of a Major League Soccer team coming from Tom Gores and Dan Gilbert, we shared our opinion of their idea.

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Because of the divisional realignment, I was fortunate to hit every NPSL regular season game, and all the other friendlies with the exception of a pre-season friendly in Windsor, Ontario, and the second half of the Rust Belt Derby in Buffalo.  Below are the highs and lows of each match, page by page.

May 7, 2016: vs Muskegon Risers (Friendly)
May 11, 2016: at Michigan Bucks(PDL) (Lamar Hunt US Open Cup)
May 13, 2016: at Michigan Stars (NPSL Regular Season)
May 15, 2016: at Dayton Dynamo (NPSL Regular Season)
May 18, 2016: at Louisville City FC (USL) (Lamar Hunt US Open Cup)
May 20, 2016: AFC Ann Arbor (NPSL Regular Season)
May 22, 2016: at Kalamazoo FC (NPSL Regular Season)
May 28, 2016: vs FC United of Manchester (International Friendly)
June 3, 2016: vs FC Buffalo (Friendly)
June 10, 2016: at Grand Rapids FC (NPSL Regular Season)
June 12, 2016: vs Lansing United (NPSL Regular Season)
June 19, 2016: vs Kalamazoo FC (NPSL Regular Season)
June 25, 2016:  vs Dayton Dynamo (NPSL Regular Season)
July 1, 2016: vs Grand Rapids FC (NPSL Regular Season)
July 3, 2016: at AFC Ann Arbor (NPSL Regular Season)
July 6, 2016:  vs Columbus Crew College Program (Friendly)
July 10, 2016: at Lansing United (NPSL Regular Season)
July 15, 2016: vs Michigan Stars (NPSL Regular Season)
July 27, 2016: vs Windsor Stars (Friendly)

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Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill

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Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond  by Marc Lamont Hill, is a phenomenal work that concisely discusses the way all of us – liberal and conservative, racist and humanist – have created the social conditions and political state that deem the poor and the black as Nobody’s.  From the state violence by individual police officers and departments; to the court system inadequately funding criminal defense for the poor who are accused of crime in comparison to city and county funding of prosecution; to the prison industrial complex which relies on full occupancy to maximize profits and insure a community with jobs; to the broad attack on a community of poor and Black by poisoning their water system by a state’s decision to run a local government with business principles.  Hill has achieved a deep and concise examination of current events and history that makes this 184-page book enlightening and thought-provoking.

I have included below some quotes from the book and videos tied to the topics within each chapter, to enhance your experience.  I found that after reading about Michael Brown and Eric Garner, seeing the videos again hammered home Hill’s points.  Other videos enhance the discussion, such as the video featuring the theory of how Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman, and Democracy Now!’s interview of Heather Ann Thompson on the Attica uprising.

Chapter One:  Nobody

The Ferguson Police Department released this video at the same time as the officer’s name.  It was an attempt to paint Michael Brown as someone who was less than innocent.  However, theft is not a capital offense in the United States, and police officers have no right to become executioners above and beyond the judicial system.

 

Chapter Two:  Broken

Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo walked out of a grand jury that failed to indict him on a homicide charge.  Ramsey Orta, the man filming the incident, was sentenced to four years in prison for unrelated charges on October 3, 2016 – over two years since the video.  In this interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, Orta states that he has been video recording NYPD officers “abusing their power,” and believes he became a target of NYPD.

Chapter Three:  Bargained

In 2014, a Baltimore Sun report found that in the preceding four years, more than one hundred people had won judgments or earned settlements for police brutality…As recently as October 2015, the city paid $95,000 to a woman who claimed that she, like Freddie Gray, was subjected to a ‘rough ride’ by police.  All of these claims likely represent only a small percentage of the people who were actually assaulted.  Imagine how many others never reported such crimes or had their reports discarded or ignored. – Pg. 83

Chapter Four:  Armed

Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.  Dunn is supposed to be a good guy with a gun?

To have to endure the insults being flung his way, move his car to another parking space, or drive off to another convenience store, all to avoid confrontation with one who was “wrong” – well, that, according to the logic of “Stand Your Ground” would not only be unfair but unmanly.  The prosecutor highlighted this theme when he offered that Dunn’s rage at Davis emerged not because he feared that Davis had a weapon but because he knew that Davis had a “big mouth” and that he felt disrespected by it.  “That defendant didn’t shoot into a carful of kids to save his life,” he told the jury.  “He shot into it to save his pride.”  Page 105.

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Chapter Five: Caged

Black Codes of the post-Civil War era…combined with the loopholes of the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery except as punishment for a crime, conspired to create easy end runs around the Emancipation Proclamation.  Simply put, slavery was allowed if Blacks committed crimes, so nearly everything they did was criminalized.  Page 128.

Using the language of war (War on Drugs) to attack a social problem worked to distort the image of those who suffered, just as propaganda in real wartime serves to distort the image of the enemy into a subhuman monstrosity.  In both instances, there is the need to transform the object of our rage into something hateful, deserving not of our mercy but of our brutal assault.  Page 141.

 

In the fight over whether the criminal was “one of us” gone bad and in need of help, or “one of them” who was fundamentally flawed and disposable from the body politic, the “one of them” theory had won.  Page 143.

Chapter Six:  Emergency

(B)y definition, the emergency manager works for the State, not the public; her priority is not the people’s safety and welfare but fiscal discipline.  Page 161.

“The general evolution is clear,” writes (Thomas) Piketty.  “Bubbles aside, what we are witnessing is…the emergence of a new patrimonial capitalism.”  Page 169.

Chapter Seven:  Somebody

All around the country, people are engaging in profound acts of civil disobedience.  Page 181.

The People have asserted that they are, in fact, Somebody.  Page 184.

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