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USL-W LEAGUE: Great Lakes Division champion Detroit City FC turns attention to postseason



MICHIGAN SOCCER NETWORK: MSN NEWS: www.michigansoccernetwork.com/msnnews


BY DAN STICKRADT

COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST | WEB AND CONTENT EDITOR | DIRECTOR OF NEWS

PH: (248) 884-1051

TW/X: @msn_stickradt @LocalSportsFans @MiSoccerNetwork

 

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – One by one, Detroit City FC has checked off boxes in the USL-W League this summer.


First unbeaten regular season in program history.


First Great Lakes Division championship.


First campaign with eight clean sheets.


Don’t forget a 12-game unbeaten streak, a sterling 0.42 team goals-against-average, only five goals conceded, a plus-19 differential in terms of goals scored vs. goals against (24-5) and so much more.


And don’t forget the fact that the Detroit City FC women have advanced to its first postseason in program history and will even host the USL-W League Central Conference Tournament this weekend.


“It’s really been a terrific season for us,” admitted Detroit City FC women’s coach David Dwaihy. “We got off to a great start and we were able to maintain it. And now we get to host the (Central Conference) first two rounds.”


Detroit City, which closed the regular season with five straight wins and only allowed four different teams to score upon its stout defense this season, will play host to River Light SC (8-3-1) at 7 p.m. Friday (July 5) at Keyworth Stadium. Defending USL-W League national champion Indy Eleven (8-1-2) will face off against the Minnesota Aurora (10-0-2) in the first semifinals match at 4 p.m.


The winners will play July 7 also at Keyworth at a time to be determined after Friday’s two conference semifinals matches are completed.

 



“It’s exciting because we have really come a long ways in a short time,” offered Dwaihy, a club soccer coach in the DCFC youth system and also a long-standing high school coach at Grosse Pointe Woods University-Liggett. Last year we saw Flint City (AFC) get off to a strong start and they were able to carry that all the way through the season. We finished third but the Great Lakes is a very tough division with so many good teams and quality players. We were able to kind of follow the same path as Flint did last year. We beat them in our first two games of the (2024) season and we were very consistent all the way through.”


In their first season in the USL-W League back in 2022, Detroit City struggled to a fifth place finish out of eight teams in the Group F standings. The LeRouge finished 3-6-3 overall with 12 points and were outscored 22-15 on the campaign.


In 2023, DCFC made some significant strides after finishing 5-4-3 overall and in third place in the newly created Central Conference-Great Lakes Division. The Le Rouge outscored the opposition 19-17 and earned a pair of shutouts along the way.


This season saw Detroit City climb to the top of the charts as one of the best teams in the nation in the regular season and hope for a good showing in its first postseason appearance in the three years of the USL-W League. The league began with 44 teams in 2022, had 65 teams in 2023 and is up to a record 70 teams here in 2024.



Only 16 teams reached the postseason and all four conference tournaments will take place July 5-7 at various sites across the country. Mechanicsburg (Penn.), Asheville (N.C.) and both Davis (Calif.) and Hayward (Calif.) will co-host the other conference tournaments, although the latter will feature two different conference semifinals sites with one site hosting the championship later in the weekend based on who wins and who is the higher seed after Friday.


Detroit City is one of eight teams entering the postseason without a loss – all with goals of taking home the coveted USL-W League Cup in a couple of weeks. The Le Rouge (10-0-2) join the Florida Elite Soccer Academy (12-0-0), Minnesota Aurora (10-0-2), FC Olympia (9-0-1), AHFC Royals (10-0-0), Long Island Rough Riders (10-0-2), California Storm (9-0-3) and North Carolina Courage U-23 (11-0-1) as squads that have yet to taste defeat in 2024 in USL-W League sanctioned games.


Detroit City FC finished the regular season with 32 total points to finish nine points ahead of Great Lakes Division runner-up Kalamazoo FC (23 points) and 11 points ahead of third-place finisher Midwest United FC (21 points) in the seven-team division. Only Detroit City FC qualified out of the Great Lakes Division to advance to the USL-W League 16-team playoffs bracket to compete for the USL-W League Cup.

 

The team records have piled up along the way and the Detroit City FC women are heading into the postseason a confident bunch and on a roll out on the pitch.

 

Recording eight shutouts on the season and only allowing four teams to score goals on the Le Rouge this season – single goals allowed to Midwest United FC, AFC Ann Arbor and Flint City AFC while conceding two goals in a game to the South Bend-Indiana-based Michiana Lions (a 3-2 win on June 19) – are what impresses Dwaihy and the coaching staff the most.   



“Our defense has been very consistent all season,” he said. “To only give up the five goals is what I like the most. Our goalkeeping has been solid and defensively we’re not making a lot of mistakes back there.”

 

Detroit City FC has rostered 47 total players – ages 15 to 33 – this season and around 40 athletes have dressed for games, as different players’ availability has changed for every game, practice and week since the team began to gather at the end of April. No player has started all 12 games for DCFC this season and several players have been available for half or less than half of the contests.


“That’s the nature of summer soccer on the amateur level,” noted Dwaihy. “You don’t have your top players for every game and kids are in and out for various reasons. Some kids have commitments for family trips or work, some have commitments to youth teams if they are still of (high school age) and some arrive late or have to head back to their college early. That being said, I think that’s what makes this season so special is that we have played close to 40 players, and I think we’ve had around 40 dress for games. But we have still found the right combination in each game to get us to this point.”

 

Michigan State University graduate Gabby Shriver has been a staple in the DCFC lineup with 11 starts in 12 games and has been a model of consistency at goalkeeper. She holds an individual GAA of well-under 1.00 and a save percentage of over .800. Allison LaPoint (Central Michigan University) and Deighton Wamer (Youngstown State University) are the other two goalkeepers to make appearances, although both have gained less than 100 minutes in goal this season.

 

Although the Le Rouge do not have any player ranked in the top 25 in the USL-W League leaders in goals, assists, or points entering the postseason, they do have a ton of very talented players who are rich in experience in various levels of the soccer pyramid – collegiate, youth club and high school and each have compiled an impressive resume on the pitch.

 

Sophia Romine (AM, University of Minnesota), Avery Peters (HM/CB, University of Michigan),

Lilley Bosley (M/D/F, University of Michigan), Drew Martin (M/F, Western Michigan University) and Emily Pagett (M, Western Michigan University) have all been key spokes in the wheel when available.

 

Kate Childers (F/M, University of Minnesota), Hannah Crum (F, Aquinas College), Ella Offer (D, Xavier University), Acadia Murphy (D, Ball State University), Tatiana Mason (F, Ball State University), Maia Soulis (D, Ohio University), Allie Tefend (D, Oakland University), Dani Stephan (M, Michigan State University), Ella Kane (F, University of Louisville) and Hannah Crum (F, Aquinas College) all gaining triple-digits in minutes this season for an unbeaten squad.

 

High school-aged players Lily Jeakle (F, Nationals Academy) and Aubrey Ciampa (M, Nationals Academy) have also gained valuable minutes, experience and exposure, as DCFC, like many other USL-W League teams, allow standout high school-aged players to be on rosters throughout the season and can play when available.

 

“We do have a lot of talent on this team. There is so much talent overall in Michigan. That is why I think the teams around here are so talented,” said Dwaihy, also praising his divisional rivals’ players. “We’ll have a good number of our top players available for this weekend, which should help us.”

 

Most of Detroit City FC’s top players will be available for this weekend’s Central Conference games. Teams must designate 25 players before each game but can only dress 18 for each match.

 

MICHIGAN SOCCER NETWORK: MSN NEWS: www.michigansoccernetwork.com/msnnews


(Have a story suggestion for the Premier Media Group and the Michigan Soccer Network regarding club soccer, high school varsity, amateur soccer, collegiate soccer or professional soccer of teams or players with Michigan ties, contact Communications Specialist/Web and Content Editor/Director of News Dan Stickradt via email at stickradt@michigansoccernetwork.com, or call 248-884-1051. Dan Stickradt is a 31-year veteran of the Michigan Media circles and recently joined the staff full time in March of 2024. Want to schedule a broadcast game or live show, contact PMG/MSN Director of Broadcasting Jonathan Turner for availability and pricing at jonathan@michigansoccernetwork.com.) 


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