In just three seasons of existence, Detroit City FC has enjoyed a skyrocketing level of fan support. Nicknamed "Le Rouge", the minor league soccer team went 8-2-2 last year, drawing an average of nearly 3,000 fans per game. Strangely enough, it's that unexpected popularity that has the team's management drawing up proposals to renovate Keyworth Stadium—a historic venue in Hamtramck—as the future home of Le Rouge.
The team is simply outgrowing their current home field at Cass Tech in Midtown, which has an official capacity of 2,500 versus 7,000 at Keyworth. According to the Hamtramck Review, the team's ownership recently proposed a $3M renovation that would replace Keyworth's artificial turf with real grass, install new seating and bathrooms, and turn an adjacent field into a practice field. The goal would be to have the stadium ready for the 2016 season.
The deal is far from certain, but Keyworth would be a unique venue. Built during the Great Depression by the WPA, the stadium is wedged between Hamtramck's dense residential streets and a large set of train tracks. Team COO Todd Kropp told the Review that the pre-game parade would go through downtown Hamtramck and its many bars. In December, Detroit City co-owner Alexander Wright explained the situation to Crain's pretty bluntly:
"It follows that we have to find a bigger place to play soccer. There are not a ton of places in the city, and we're committed to playing in Detroit. Hamtramck is in Detroit. Maybe someday we'll be in a position to leverage what we do and get a soccer-specific stadium together, but for now we're exploring our options." A look at Keyworth on Google Streetview is embedded below.
· School board gets an update on Keyworth Stadium renovation [Ham Review]