For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan Duggan
PONTIAC, MI. (March 31st, 2014) - Michigan Bucks owner Dan Duggan confirmed today that he has reached a preliminary agreement with USL PRO to bring a professional outdoor soccer team to the Detroit market starting in the 2015 season. The agreement (subject to league approval of the ownership group and stadium plan) represents the final chapter in the longtime local soccer executive’s quest to bring a professional team and soccer-specific stadium to downtown Detroit, marking the first time professional outdoor soccer has been played in the city since 1968 when the Detroit Cougars hosted their games at Tiger Stadium.
The 2014 USL PRO season kicked off on March 22 with its previous two league champions, Orlando City (2013) and the Charleston Battery (2012) squaring off at Charleston’s Blackbaud Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium in the United States. Orlando City has been the major story of soccer in North America as it became the fifth USL professional division team to move to Major League Soccer (MLS), joining the Seattle Sounders, Vancouver Whitecaps, Portland Timbers and Montreal Impact. Orlando City will complete its fourth and final season in USL PRO in 2014 before starting in MLS next season.
Last year USL PRO entered into a groundbreaking, multi-year partnership with MLS that has further reinforced the scope and visibility of the league as the strongest and best operated league below and in support of MLS on and off the field. As a component of this arrangement, it is anticipated that all MLS clubs will either own/operate a USL PRO team or forge an affiliation partnership with an existing USL PRO team by the 2015 season.
Duggan, Chairman and CEO of the Michigan Bucks of the USL’s PDL (one level below USL Pro) have been working with USL and MLS to try and bring professional soccer to Detroit for over a decade. The Bucks began 19 years ago and have been one of the model franchises on and off the field in the PDL, which is the top U-23 league in North America focused on the development of top college players and young professionals that aspire to get paid to play professional soccer domestically or abroad. The Bucks hold many PDL records, including most wins, playoff appearances, playoff wins, and US Open Cup appearances/wins. The Bucks are also the only adult amateur team in history to have defeated two teams from MLS in the US Open Cup tournament. The storied PDL franchise has won four league titles, qualified for the playoffs in 16 of 18 seasons and has never had a losing record.
The Detroit native (raised in Livonia) has been working towards bringing a MLS team to Detroit since the league’s inception and has been looking at launching the USL PRO team in the Detroit market for the past several seasons, but was held back due to a lack of a stadium deemed necessary to be an overwhelming success in the rabid Detroit sports marketplace. While exploring options in Pontiac, Livonia, Canton and other local areas to build a 5,000-seat stadium, Duggan decided to take the advice of the experts and turn his entire focus to downtown Detroit.
Duggan’s vision for the soccer-specific stadium (which is actually a multi-purpose venue that could host concerts and other small-scale events) is a 5,000-seat stadium with open hills in the end zones that would enable 8,000 fans to be a part of the USL PRO experience in downtown Detroit. The stadium could be incorporated into an existing developed area or be a stand-alone project, depending on the neighborhood. Duggan estimates the land needed would be a minimum of 2.5 acres and as much as 7 acres to develop two additional outdoor turf fields to accommodate the massive need for quality fields for youth soccer and adult leagues within the city limits.
Duggan plans to host a media conference this spring to roll out additional details about the team’s USL PRO franchise plans, its MLS aspirations, international partner, and plans for a youth academy to complete the entire pyramid of soccer within the state of Michigan.
Additional details will be released in the coming weeks. For further information, please contact Dan Duggan at firstname.lastname@example.org.