Friday marks the home opener for AFC Ann Arbor’s sophomore season. In the off season, the club hired Eric Rudland as the Head Coach & Sporting Director. Shortly after hiring Rudland, the club announced it’s move to the National Premier Soccer League which would allow the Mighty Oak to compete at a higher level.
Friday’s Battle of the Oak (The Mighty OAK vs. OAKland County) will be the third time these teams have met in their short history. The friendly will kick-off at 7pm for the first match of the season at Hollway Field.
The inaugural season for AFC Ann Arbor included two matches (home and away) with Oakland County FC (formerly known as Oakland United FC).
The first of the two matches was played in Ann Arbor, which proved to be one of the Mighty Oak’s strongest home showings. The 4-0 victory for AFC was the only win for the club against Oakland, as the second contest, on the road, was a 1-1 draw.
With big changes coming for both clubs in the off season, you can almost expect two see two completely new clubs take the pitch Friday. For the Mighty Oak, only 6 returning players will be on the 2016 roster, of which 3 will be available to make the April 29th roster: Johno Heslop, Knox Cameron and Kevin Taylor.
When asked about Friday’s friendly, Coach Rudland said, “We are looking forward to the match at Hollway Field on Friday. The hope is to build off our performance last weekend and continue to grow our group. We are grateful to Oakland County FC for their willingness to come down and play. And I’m eager to see the Main Street Hooligans in action.”
For Oakland County FC, Co-Owner, Ben Rode, the anticipation to return to Ann Arbor, with not only a new and improved team name, but also some changes in personnel, is very exciting for him.
He added, “We are very excited with all of our signings for this season but 2 that will provide great leadership are Shawn Sloan and Jason Leslie. Shawn is a midfielder who has playing experience with the Columbus Crew and Jason was a 4-year starter with University of Detroit Mercy, who captained the team his junior and senior seasons. Both will play in Friday's match.”