Rebirth of Detroit welcomes a growing tradition
By Natalie Shirvanian
“Passion for Our City, Passion for Our Game!”
This is one of the many chants heard during a Detroit City Football Club (DCFC) game, among many other cheers from fans.
DCFC was founded in 2012 by brothers Gene and Ken Butcher in hopes of bringing the love and passion of the game to the incredible city, bringing enthusiastic fans from all different areas from greater Metro Detroit.
Driving down Ledyard and Second Street fans gather together filling Cass Tech High School’s football stadium where Detroit City hosts their opponents. Many fans display their faithfulness to their team wearing DCFC branded gear such as shirts and scarves.
As the crowd continues to gather, the scenery at Cass Tech builds the excitement for the city, showing a beautiful view of the Detroit skyline from a different perspective. As warm ups come to an end, the players head back to their locker rooms for last minute pep talks.
From a distance, the emergent sound of drums, chants and singing echo through the neighborhood as the diehard faithful fans march to the match from Harry’s Detroit Pub just a few blocks away. The atmosphere surrounding game day gives the feel as if going to a game in Europe, with a dedicated fan base and traditional behavior.
DCFC games on average attract 3,000 to 4,000 fans and are still growing in numbers as the team gains more popularity.
A faithful fan for the past two years, Wendy Winter said, “Detroit City has brought an affordable alternative to the other major sports [football, baseball and hockey] to Detroit.” Many major sports can cost a fan an arm and a leg after parking and other expenses, such as food, beverages and fan apparel. Winter added, “You can enjoy watching a game for $10 as opposed to $100 for other sports.”
The Northern Guard Supporters are the ones to thank for the large fan base around Detroit City, as they are the ones who march from Harry’s Detroit Pub dressed in burgundy and gold, displaying their love for the city and the sport. The Northern Guard display chants like, “No one likes us, we don’t care” and “We’re ruining football, and we don’t care” showing opposing teams that Detroit City is here with an entourage, and as the supporters say, “We score, we shout and we’ll smoke you out.”
As the Northern Guard Supporters take up the stands built for a capacity of 800 people, the opposite side also fills with a much more family-friendly spectator area. A diehard fan since day one who simply goes by the name “Ted” keeps the crowd pumped, similar to a team cheerleader. “Ted” goes around the stadium, mainly the family-friendly side to keep fans excited by chanting and getting the crowd on their feet.
The Northern Guard fans also bring a unique colorful presence to the game as they light smoke bombs in colors of red, yellow and green that covers the field at kick off, during each goal scored by Detroit City and in the final minutes of the game. The chants heard throughout the field and outside of the stadium not only electrify the fans all over, but also the team.
Former Schoolcraft Men’s Soccer player, George Chomakov commented, “When playing at this level and for Detroit City, you have to be mentally focused and mentally strong as we have 4,000 fans cheering on, it can be easy to lose concentration and get nervous. Our fans are amazing and always there to support us so when we are on the field, we want to be focused and ready to do our best for our fans.”
Detroit City finished strong with a record of 8-2-2, qualifying the team for the Midwest semifinals. Unfortunately, the team fell short of advancement and was eliminated by AFC Cleveland in Madison, Wisconsin, 2-1, ending the season for DCFC.
As the Detroit City’s success continues build, the fan base will follow, keeping this tradition alive in many years to come. The atmosphere not only brings soccer enthusiasts together, but all sports lovers to the city as it progresses in the rebirth of Detroit.
For more information regarding tickets, team roster and schedules for the upcoming 2016 season, visit http://www.detcityfc.com. If interested in the Northern Guard Supporters, visit http://www.noonelikes.us.