Detroit City FC prepares for new home field

Posted at 7:43 PM, Apr 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-26 19:43:22-04

Renovation work is continuing on Hamtramck's historic Keyworth Stadium.  The depression-era facility is the new home of Detroit's soccer team, Detroit City FC.

"We're improving all the bleachers," said Todd Kropp, who shares ownership of the team with four other investors. "A lot of the work is actually happening under the bleachers. We're repairing all the concrete to make sure it's structurally sound," said Kropp. 

The locker rooms and bathrooms are also being updated, according to Kropp, and the stadiums lights are also being checked to make sure they're in good working order. 

Tucked tightly into the neighborhood, the stadium dates back to 1936. Built as a Federal Works Project,  President Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to Hamtramck for the dedication.

The move to Hamtramck comes after the semi-pro team and its wildly enthusiastic fan base outgrew Cass Tech High School's football field.

"We expect very large crowds this year," said Donovan Powell, the team's general manager. "We hope to do 7,000 (fans) a game. Capacity here will be 6,000 to 7,000 and we think we can do it." 

Support has grown steadily since the team made its debut in 2012.

"They're wearing paint," Powell said of the fans who have adopted the team. "We let them light smoke bombs when we score goals. They're waving their flags. It's really created an atmosphere that's really the most unique sporting atmosphere here in the city." 

A crowd-funding campaign raised more than $720,000 for the stadium repair and renovation. The team entered into a 10-year partnership with Hamtramck Schools, which owns the stadium. Kropp said he expects both parties will benefit from the arrangement.

"It really just provides a venue for us that is large enough to fit our crowd and is in a great spot and a great neighborhood.  

The ethnic diversity of Hamtramck is a major plus for the team, according to Kropp.

"There's a lot of soccer supporters in this neighborhood, so it's a great fit for us."