Season Preview 2014: The Longest Winter

If you live in Michigan, you’re all too aware that we just went through one of the most brutal winters in our recorded history. Decades from now, many of us will experience PTSD-like symptoms whenever we see a snowflake or feel a cold breeze on our cheek, and we will tell our grandchildren how lucky they are to not have lived through the winter of ‘14.

Winters these days seem to drag on forever; the weather contributes to this perception, but for a growing number of us, the primary cause is the NPSL’s 10-month offseason. It’s a necessity since the bulk of the league’s players are current college athletes, but waiting for May can get downright excruciating at times.

Now the days are longer, we can safely expose bare skin outside for more than five minutes, and soccer is back.

Spring’s here. You can smell it.

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Detroit City Football Club enters its third season in a unique position. The team’s competitiveness in year one was a pleasant surprise, its unbeaten run in 2013 was exhilarating, but now, with the bulk of its roster back and an ever-increasing level of support, Le Rouge will be facing a new, unfamiliar foe: expectations.

These include, in no particular order, making a good showing in the US Open Cup, winning the Rust Belt Derby, winning the Great Lakes East Conference, winning the Midwest Region, and making a serious run at an NPSL title.

Much of the club’s reputation has been built on its incredible support. This is justified, but what seems to have gotten a little lost in the shuffle is the high quality of the team itself. Of the goals listed above, none will be easy, but all are attainable.

In the always fluid lower divisions of American soccer, it’s tough to stand out as a club, especially when your season lasts less than three months. Now, with a favorable schedule and its strongest team to date, Detroit City FC has the opportunity to achieve its greatest success and make people remember the name.

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