Oakland County Football Club’s Kaveon Dux poses for a photo with fans during a game last season. Since its formation in 2014, OCFC has worked hard to build a tight-knit community with those who attend its games.

Oakland County Football Club’s Kaveon Dux poses for a photo with fans during a game last season. Since its formation in 2014, OCFC has worked hard to build a tight-knit community with those who attend its games.

Photo by Rena Laverty


Oakland County FC has something to offer for all fans

By: Jacob Herbert | C&G Newspapers | Published April 18, 2019

 OCFC’s Robbie Cort looks to get around a defender in a game last season. OCFC finished 5-7 overall last season.

OCFC’s Robbie Cort looks to get around a defender in a game last season. OCFC finished 5-7 overall last season.

Photo by Magdiel Crisan

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OAKLAND COUNTY — It’s always nice to feel like a part of something, to feel included. Oakland County Football Club understands that feeling and has worked tirelessly to bring people together.

Established in 2014, OCFC follows the same model as the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and many successful soccer clubs in Europe by allowing fans to own a portion of the team.

OCFC is a semi-pro soccer team operating out of Clawson. It competes in the Midwest Conference East Division of the United Premier Soccer League.

Team co-owner Nick Morana, a 2007 graduate of Sterling Heights High, said the program is looking to build a community around OCFC. He took the example from the film “Friday Night Lights,” where every Friday night businesses across the city close down so the employees can take in a game.

While Morana knows the possibility of that is unlikely, allowing fans to have stock in the team is a solid start to building a community.

“Because we’re more of a grassroots team, we decided to open up what’s called a ‘supporters trust,’ which is an entity of the team,” Morana said. “Ten percent of the team is owned by a trust, and individuals can actually buy into the trust. Technically, they are buying shares into the supporters trust, to which in turn they have equity ownership into the club.”

Morana estimated that 157 fans currently have bought into the team.

The perk of partial ownership doesn’t stop at bragging rights. Owners receive a season ticket and a scarf, among other benefits.

The club also holds quarterly member forums where fans who have ownership in the team are able to come and ask any question they may have. Questions can range anywhere from what the upcoming schedule will look like to the club’s marketing strategy for the upcoming season.

Also at the forums, fans are able to choose between multiple kit designs and have a say in what jersey combinations OCFC wears on the field.

“We want fans to actually feel as though they know what’s going on and they actually have a say in this team,” Morana said. “They’re not blindly cheering for a team just because we’re in their backyard.”

The next members forum will take place May 9 at Zeoli’s Modern Italian restaurant in Clawson. Zeoli’s doubles as the club’s game-day bar where fans can indulge in drink specials before and after the matches.

Previously stationed in Rochester Hills Stoney Creek and Royal Oak High, OCFC now plays its games at Clawson Stadium, located in Clawson City Park.

In its inaugural season, Morana estimated that the games averaged about 400 fans per game. That number has been steadily rising every year and the new target number for this upcoming year is 500.

“It’s been a complete success so far,” Morana said. “They city has really opened its arms to us and have been very welcoming. We’ve been enjoying our time here in Clawson.”

For fans who are not interested in owning a portion of the club, OCFC still has plenty to offer.

General admission for adults costs $10 at the gate or $8 if the ticket is purchased online up to 48 hours before the game. Children ages 5-12 can be granted entry for $5.

Once inside, patrons can enjoy $1 concessions, a massage tent, and a kids zone complete with a bounce house and a face painter.

For the rabid soccer fans, the club also offers top-tier competition, as it features many Division 1 college athletes from across the nation.

Morana made note of a few players for fans to be on the lookout for during OCFC’s eight-game home schedule.

Topping the list is Shawn Sloan. A 2013 third-round draft pick of Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew, Morana said Sloan is one of those once-in-a-lifetime talents.

OCFC also has a pair of newcomers who will act as must-see talent for the games to come. Stoney Creek grad and 2017 Michigan Mr. Soccer Mike Melaragni just completed his freshman campaign at Western Michigan University. Melaragni recorded three goals and two assists in his first year with the Broncos.

West Bloomfield native Miguel Sufana is also new to OCFC. Sufana was a member of the U-15, U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-20 USA men’s national teams. He played college soccer at both Temple University and Villanova.

“Throughout all of our years, on paper, this is going to be our most talented team just because of the multitude of guys that we have coming back along with the new guys coming in,” Morana said. “We feel as though we can easily compete for first place in our division this year.”

While its players are unpaid, OCFC offers the opportunity to compete at a high level and stay in shape during the NCAA offseason.

Catch the club in its home opener at 7:30 p.m. May 11 against the AAFC Lumberjacks.

For more information on the team, visit oaklandcountyfc.com.

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