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Global Sep 22, 2015

NPSL adds AFC Ann Arbor as latest expansion squad

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(Via NPSL) – The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) has announced that AFC Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI) has joined the league as an expansion team. The club will compete in the Midwest Region.

“We are thrilled to have another NPSL team in Michigan,” NPSL Chairman Joe Barone commented. “The state and the entire Midwest Region has become a soccer hotbed and the rivalries between clubs there are some of the best in the country.”

AFC Ann Arbor, also known as “The Mighty Oak,” was founded in 2014 by a group of residents with a desire to have a soccer team in the diverse and passionate sporting city of Ann Arbor. The club is comprised of nine owners, including former Columbus Crew striker Knox Cameron. The ownership group guides the club in a number of business operations including marketing, sponsorships, merchandising, and community outreach.

“The ownership group felt joining a national and well-established league positioned the club for greater long-term success,” Cameron added. “We are passionate about furthering the competitive landscape within Michigan. Having the opportunity to compete against the likes of Detroit and Lansing bodes well for the growth of the game.”

Ann Arbor’s technical staff is led by Head Coach and Sporting Director Eric Rudland, who spent the last two seasons at the helm of Lansing United. He led Lansing to a Midwest Region championship in his first season and finished with a 16-6-6 record. Rudland gained further head coaching experience with Spring Arbor University, Madonna University, and Albion College. He also spent time as an assistant coach with Crewe Alexandra FC in England.

“We bring a lot of excitement following a very successful inaugural season,” AFC Ann Arbor Co-Owner Bilal Saeed added. “Our community has shown strong support for our club as we averaged over 1,200 fans per game in the 2015 season. Our matchday experience creates an exciting atmosphere at Hollway Stadium for soccer fans young and old.”

AFC Ann Arbor also experienced success off the field, securing shirt sponsorships with the Bank of Ann Arbor and Audi of Ann Arbor. The club expects to immediately compete at a high level and contend for a Midwest Region championship.