Nick V. Michigan

Detroit City Football Club

The MLS should not come to Detroit.

Dear President,

In an old stadium in Hamtramck, profanity is thrown everywhere, smoke billows, and drums and horns fill the stadium air. Detroit City Football Club, or DCFC, is a 4th Division soccer team which is known for their skill and their supporter section. This section calls themselves the NGS, or the Northern Guard Supporters. And as the threat of the team joining Major League Soccer, many backlash at the idea, including myself. Detroit City Football Club should not join the MLS because it will hurt the community, strip supporters of their rights, and the outside ownership would lust after money at the expense of hardcore fans.

Initially, DCFC should not enter the MLS due to the inevitable suffering it will cause the community. Many MLS backers say that the MLS will join the community together around soccer. While that is true, I still insist that the pain outweighs the gain. By the MLS either creating a new team or having DCFC enter the MLS, this would cause the destruction for historical sites for a large soccer stadium. In a reddit post from a user known as “jayjaywalker3”, a Northern Guard Supporter, says that “We don't want a taxpayer funded stadium in the heart of downtown that is going to require the destruction of historic buildings to complete.” He also brings up the point that taxpayers have to pay $450 million dollars of $627 million for the Red Wings Stadium to be built. “We don't see how large projects like this is good for the fans, the community, or the city.” Alex Sparr, another diehard fan who was married at a DCFC match, also doesn’t like the idea of having an MLS team in Detroit. He told CBS that ‘“This soccer club was built from the ground up... It isn’t something you sink $100 million into. You can have MLS in Detroit. I won’t be supporting that. I am a city guy.’” Through these opinions, you are able to make the assumption that these supporters do not want an MLS team. By having an MLS team, it will severely hurt the community.

Subsequently, outside ownership such as the MLS would lust after money at the expense of the supporters and fans. As previously noticed, jayjaywalker3 talks about this in a reddit post. He says that “We aren't interested in joining a league that will use our image in multimillion dollar marketing campaigns but on the other side of it, ban our supporters for doing the very things they market.” Through the MLS marketing strategies, they can profit off of the fans without caring about the supporters. Just like jayjaywalker3, Devon Rowcliff, a WhiteCaps fan, says that “the clubs enjoy benefitting from the facade of supporter aesthetics, but ultimately view fans merely as customers, rather than as partners” As Rowcliff puts it, the MLS benefits from the culture of the supporter groups but at the same time limits them to their likings. The MLS “views fans as customers” and most likely does not care about the culture of the sport.

Finally, MLS should not come to Detroit because it strips away the rights of supporters. During matches, smoke bombs are continuously thrown, especially when DCFC scores. However, if MLS were to take over, they would ban the use of smoke bombs. Matt Parsons, a D.C. United fan, was banned for a year from games for lighting a smoke bomb in the parking lot. Parsons was outraged, saying that "No one would care if I got banned for a legitimate reason, but fans around the league can see that this is just the beginning of a trend to try to mute fans' expressions and control fans to act as they see fit." MLS’ ban on smoke would be a major setback to the experience of the game and would ban Detroit City Supporters for something they do on a regular basis. Another MLS team known as the Dayton Dynamo has a large supporter section as well. When they joined the MLS, there were league-wide restrictions on many rights that the supports had. In a letter from the MLS to the supporter group, it said that violations included “obscene language and gestures by multiple supporters.”, “multiple illegal smoke bombs were brought into the stadium, ignited and thrown onto the field”, and much more. These rights that DCFC supporters have may be stripped away if MLS comes to Detroit. By having MLS start a team in Detroit, many supporters will have their rights taken away. As a retaliation from DCFC, one of the chants is directly targeted at Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, along with the MLS Commissioner Don Garber. These 3 people are the main targets due to their drive to bring the MLS to Detroit. The chant goes as follows: “F*** em’ all, F*** em’ all! F*** Gilbert, Gores, and Garber! We’re Detroit City and we are the best! We’re Detroit City so f*** all the rest!” Along with this resentment, there are many banners across the stadium that have “CLUB>LEAGUE”, which refers the being faithful to your team over the MLS. These chants and banners are a few of the many things that show the supporters resentment towards the MLS. These supporters should not have to stray from their culture because the MLS tells them to.

Altogether, MLS should not be brought to Detroit. If this were to happen, it would hurt the community, strip supporters of their rights, and the outside ownership would lust after money at the expense of hardcore fans. The president should not allow the MLS to come to Detroit.


Nick V