As Spring arrives on the calendar and approaches in the air, many soccer fans around Detroit can only think of one thing – smoke bombs. Smoke bombs are the traditional goal celebration for fans of the Detroit City Football Club. DCFC, known as Le Rouge, is Detroit’s soccer team. DCFC opens the 2018 campaign on April 14 at home against Western Michigan University at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck.
Last year, DCFC finished as a National Semifinalist after winning the Midwest Regional Championship. In the offseason, co-founder and co-owner Sean Mann became the club’s first CEO. Opportunity Detroit spoke to Mann about his new role and the upcoming season.
Opportunity Detroit (OD): After such a successful season, where do you go from here?
Sean Mann (SM): “Every year we are looking for strategic growth. Our goal is to be Detroit’s soccer team. Continuing to build on prior success, we are moving from a 10-week a year season to becoming a year round operation. For instance, we are opening an indoor facility in Detroit this September that will host adult recreation leagues, DCFC trainings, youth soccer, and a host of other sports all year long. This year over 1500 people will participate in our adult recreational leagues.”
OD: One special event that I’m looking forward to this year is DCFC playing host to FC St. Pauli from Germany’s Bundesliga. The game is May 19 at 6:00 p.m.. What does that mean for DCFC?
SM: “DCFC has hosted international matches every year. The match against FC St. Pauli guarantees to raise the club’s profile yet again. St. Pauli is one of the most beloved counter culture teams in Europe. This is St. Pauli’s first ever game on American soil. We are excited to host.”
OD: I heard the game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Detroit. That’s great.
SM: “Our games have been broadcast on Fox Sports Online but as part of hosting St. Pauli, we needed to be able to televise the game. It’s great to be able to showcase the game on Fox Sports Detroit.”
OD: What advice do you have for new fans?
SM: “If you are new to DCFC, we are the most widely genuine, exciting and affordable experience for Detroiters. Come to a game and we are confident you’ll want to come back and bring friends.”
OD: What about for loyal supporters?
SM: “We keep growing. This year we’re offering more services on game day. More food and beverage options. You’ll see more ushers assisting fans. The game day experience will continue to be what you know and love. Flags. Smoke bombs. Singing. Chanting.”
OD: How have you found the new role as CEO?
SM: “It’s a unique experience. Running a small business means dealing with the emotions and all the moving parts. The soccer landscape is a mess, as well, so staying on top of that alone takes a lot of attention. On game days, we have up to 120 staff to help out and there’s still a lot to be done.”
OD: I heard about the open tryout that DCFC hosts. That’s pretty cool. What’s the story there?
SM: “We’re hosting an open tryout on March 30. All the spots are filled. Participants will get free season tickets and a t-shirt. We’ve found some players through the tryout. It’s a great way to remain connected to the community.”
OD: Any final thoughts?
SM: “Our tagline is more fun, less cost. We realize the professional sports can be expensive. We are all about fun and fan experience. We want to provide an accessible product for all of Detroit.”
Make sure to get to Keyworth Stadium to see DCFC this season. Le Rouge defends the Midwest Regional crown beginning on April 14. The regular season runs through July 24. DCFC offers single game tickets ranging from $10-20, Gold admission, VIP, Season Tickets, and group rates are all available.
Have you been to a DCFC game? Let us know your favorite part of the experience in the comments below!