HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – The Detroit City FC women’s team concluded its inaugural season Sunday with the United Women’s Soccer Keyworth Showcase in Hamtramck.
All matches over the weekend were played without fans. In the American soccer world, Detroit City FC is famous for its crowds and its party-like community atmosphere. When it was announced they were launching a women’s team, they expected the new team to play for a packed house.
READ: How a passion beyond soccer drives Detroit City FC’s fierce supporters
While Keyworth Stadium sat empty, fans still made their support known.
“Of course they couldn’t be there, but of course their presence was definitely felt,” said Sydney Blomquist, DCFC midfielder. “With the signs they made and the smoke bombs, those were hilarious.”
Watch: A look inside Keyworth Stadium before DCFC renovations began
When players started signing on back in March, coronavirus had just begun to take hold. Since then, it was difficult for the team to practice.
“About a month ago we started,” said Coach Sam Piraine. “When we got the green light, we could actually do some in-person training stuff. Prior to that, we’ve been doing Zoom stuff.”
Now together, the players aren’t forced into a bubble like the NBA or their counterparts on the men’s team because the women aren’t paid. Many have day jobs and are asked to keep a log of travel and symptoms.
Despite the challenges, those on the team are just happy to be back on the pitch after it was uncertain they’d be able to play this year at all.
“I’m just happy to be able to play right now,” Blomquist said. “That’s been the piece that’s been missing for a few months now and I think these players are just grateful be able to do what we love to do.”
“I’m looking forward to getting a complete season in,” Piraine said. “Even though this was kind of a good ‘get your feet wet’ season one.”