Friday, May 6, 2016

2016 NPSL Great Lakes (West) Season Predictions

It's finally here. The time of the year where players are fit, supporters are ready to chant their heads off and soccer pundits across the United States are releasing their predictions for the upcoming season. 

Our pals over at Boys In Rouge have already released their predictions and hopes for the upcoming Detroit City FC season

But we at For the Love of Fútbol have different ideas as to how the season table will shake out come the end of the season. 

Any knowledgeable soccer fan that follows the NPSL Great Lakes-West is aware of the power and influence that Detroit City FC possesses. Among the handful of changes that City have made heading into the 2016 season, the biggest of all has to be its upgraded roster. 

DCFC manager Ben Pirmann has gone to lengths to bolster his clubs attack and midfield, but a worrying part of the roster comes at the defensive line and goalkeeper position. 

For the first time in a long time, the goalkeeper position lacks an incumbent starter and while many supporters believe that Cody Lang may be the starter come the beginning of the season, we really just don't know. 

On top of that, it seems as if Pirmann may have prioritized strengthening the offensive core of the team at the expense of the defense. 

That being said, the players listed as defenders on the roster are established and successful players within their collegiate careers, and with individuals such as Seb Harris, Billy Stevens and Andre Morris at the back, worries shouldn't be too heightened. 

Qualifying for the second Midwest region playoff spot, we have Lansing United making a resurgence under first-year head coach Nate Miller. After a disastrous 2015 campaign that left the club two sports outside of a playoff spot, Miller will look to help the club rebound. 

Lansing United typically saw success under former coach Eric Rudland, but last year was enough for both the club and manager to move on. Rudland moved on to AFC Ann Arbor, while United opted to hire Miller. 

The club from Lansing has much to prove this season, but it's hard to envision a world where they finish higher than an established and momentum filled club in City. It is also hard to envision that United will finish lower in the table than four expansion sides that fill out the GL-West division. 

The middle of the table is going to be a dog fight, with three expansion sides battling it out with an under-par and slightly lacking Michigan Stars FC club that has had that missing 'something' for the last few seasons now. 

Unfortunately, Kalamazoo FC seems to be the odds on favorite to finish last in the table and that is probably because of the new clubs lack of public relations and it's inability to create a splash in a division that boasts professional marketing teams with DCFC and AFCAA. 

Quite frankly, aside from DCFC and Lansing United, this Great Lakes West division is quite weak. Four expansion clubs and three returning clubs form the make-up of the table, with Detroit City being the obvious powerhouse. 

Although, it looks as if AFC Ann Arbor might be the dark horse club that surprises everyone that follows the division. With an established and successful sporting director in Rudland, a growing fan base and players from across the country, as well as international talent, AFCAA has all the necessary ingredients to make a run at the third and perhaps the second spot. 

Of course, only time will tell whether or not the division shapes up how it should (look at how the soccer gods blessed Leicester City) so we can only said to see. 

We here at FTLOF are just glad that the season is about to kick-off. The time for talk has passed.


  1. I just ran across this pre-season prediction... Quite interesting, in retrospect, right??