2017 Roster Overview

Read More Detroit City FC players Jeff Adkins, Dave Edwardson, and Seb Harris
Photo by Dion Degennaro

Barring any late additions, Detroit City’s 2017 roster has been set and can now be examined in detail. I always use the season preview series of posts to discuss each position group and individual player, so this post will look more at the team as a whole. The full, current roster can be found HERE.

Position Battles

With the year-to-year roster turnover that occurs naturally in an amateur league, there is plenty of competition at every position on an annual basis. With that said, these are the three areas of City’s squad where that competition should be most pronounced.

(1) Striker

One of the biggest struggles for last year’s team was finding a consistent, go-to goalscorer. Some players showed flashes but none could produce game-in, game-out, over the course of the full season. Ben Pirmann has addressed this by bringing in six newcomers to compete at the position. Shawn Lawson returns after two years away from the club, and his talent plus that added experience and development make him my preliminary favorite to start. Among his chief competitors is the most intriguing prospect on the roster at any position, Roddy Green. Coming off his freshman season at Saginaw Valley in which he scored 7 goals, Green combines good size (6’1”) with blazing speed, and may have the most upside of any striker on the team.

(2) Goalkeeper

Equally troublesome as striker, goalkeeper turned into a revolving door in 2016, partially due to inconsistency, and also because of player availability issues. One of the top items on my wishlist for this upcoming season was a true, full-time, #1 keeper. This wish appears to have been fulfilled with the addition of Providence’s Colin Miller. I also liked what I saw from Nate Steinwascher in his limited action last year, though (particularly his performance against Louisville City in the U.S. Open Cup), so I believe the starting spot is still up for grabs. Regardless of who emerges, this has the potential to be a very good 1-2 combination.

(3) Centerback

Somewhat surprisingly, last year’s breakout player Omar Sinclair is not on the roster for 2017. Competing for the vacant starting role will be three seasoned college players, Zach Bock (WMU), Stephen Carroll (Davenport), and Owain Hoskins (St. Edwards – TX). Bock is the most decorated – 2016 First Team All-MAC – but Carroll and Hoskins bring more size to the position and have legitimate chances of pairing with Seb Harris once the season begins.

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2017 Roster Tracker

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Updated 3/7/17 – Newcomers listed in bold. (Alternate positions in parentheses).

Striker/Forward7
Tyler Moorman (RM/RB) – Twitter
Mauricio Castorino (LW/RW) – College Bio   Twitter
Kyle CoffeeCollege Bio   Twitter   Video
Roderic GreenCollege Bio   Twitter   Video
Shawn Lawson* – MW Pro Soccer Combine Profile   Twitter   Video
Derrick Otim College Bio   Twitter   Video 1   Video 2
Max Todd College Bio   Twitter

*Played for DCFC in 2013 & 2014

Attacking Midfield/Wing 7
Jeff Adkins – Twitter
Tommy Catalano (F) – Twitter
Andrew Dalou – Twitter
Cyrus Saydee – Twitter
Spiro Pliakos – Twitter
Dalton Amez (CM) – College Bio
Tyrone Mondi Article   Interview

Center Midfield5
George Chomakov – Twitter
Dave Edwardson – Twitter
Troy Watson – Twitter
Aaron Franco (FB?) – College Bio   Twitter   Video (HS highlights but they show his style and skillset – technical, offensive-minded CM)
Luke Hauswirth (RB) – College Bio   Twitter

Fullback3
Zach Schewee (R/L) – Twitter
Spencer Glass (L) – College Bio   Twitter
Adam Spinks (R) – Twitter   Video

Centerback4
Seb Harris – Twitter
Zach Bock College Bio   Twitter  
Stephen Carroll
College Bio   Twitter   Video
Owain Hoskins College Bio   Twitter   Video

Goalkeeper3
Joe Smith – Twitter
Nate Steinwascher – Twitter
Colin Miller College Bio   Twitter   Video

2017 Schedule Analysis

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With City’s annual open tryout this past Friday and now the full 2017 schedule dropping, the new season cycle has officially begun. It’s been a solid six months since we’ve had anything to sink our teeth into, so let’s get to it.

The initial thing to note is that the new divisional format means City will play 14 league matches in two months, as opposed to 12 over the same time period in 2016. Not having an Open Cup commitment, while disappointing, also means that the early part of the season will be a little less crowded with fixtures.

The very first weekend should provide ample evidence as to whether or not City has put last season’s struggles behind them. In 2016 Milwaukee Torrent went 6-0-0 in the provisional Midwest Central division while Michigan Stars took a win and a draw out of their two meetings with DCFC.

The next two matches are against the teams that finished #1 and #2 in the division last season – Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids. Following the latter matchup on Friday, June 2nd, City will have to make a long trip to Indiana on Sunday the 4th. Despite the fact that Indiana looks to be probably the weakest team in the division, going on the road after a short turnaround makes this a potential trap.

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State of the Club 2017

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Note: I wrote this piece to be published on another site, but that fell through. Since it covers basically everything I intended to include in my annual State of the Club, I’m posting it here now.

Previously:   SOTC 2014   SOTC 2015   SOTC 2016

The first five years of Detroit City FC’s existence were defined by rapid growth, not only in the club’s popularity, but in match attendance and revenue as well. The greater City’s reputation has become, the more speculation has arisen over its potential jump to a professional league. With the struggles of the NASL and the U.S. Soccer Federation’s decision concerning Division II league sanctioning, that speculation has only intensified.

Up until the league’s recent brush with death, I’d preferred the NASL as Detroit City’s destination if and when the time came for the club to move up to the pro level. There was a lot to like about the league, namely its hands-off approach to its member clubs, which stands in stark contrast to the tightly-controlled single-entity model of MLS. In my view a jump to the NASL represented a happy medium in that City would be able to compete at a higher tier and raise its profile, and at the same time maintain the culture and identity that made the club special in the first place.

In light of the events of the past two months, though, I’ve changed my position. NASL’s instability, demonstrated primarily by the near collapse of its flagship franchise, the New York Cosmos, as well as the exodus or uncertain future of several other clubs, makes it clear to me that the league should no longer be seriously considered in Detroit City’s future plans. Despite rumors coming out of the NASL meetings in December that Detroit was in advanced talks to join the league beginning in 2018, DCFC co-owner Sean Mann denied any involvement other than some general discussions. Thanks to the USSF’s January 7th decision not to revoke NASL’s Division II sanctioning, the league may be able to stabilize and recover, but in the short-term it appears to be too risky an option for an up-and-coming club to join.

The other result of that January 7th meeting was the conferring of Division II status on USL, allowing it to move up from its de facto Division III position to become essentially equal to NASL. While USL’s reputation has grown in recent years thanks to the great success of clubs such as Sacramento and Cincinnati, the major sticking point for me and many other Detroit City supporters is that the inclusion of MLS reserve sides and affiliates in the league gives it a distinct “minor league”/“little brother of MLS” type of feel. Were a true MLS reserve league to form and allow the independent USL clubs to split into a separate division, that would make it a much more attractive option for City, but until then it’s difficult to see supporters showing much interest in USL as currently constituted.

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