Association Football Club Ann Arbor and Head Coach & Sporting Director, Eric Rudland, have agreed to a new 2-year deal keeping the local manager at the helm for The Mighty Oak.
“My decision to return is an easy one. We have built something special over the past two years. I think our players, supporters and the community believe that, so an opportunity to build on that momentum is really neat,” said Rudland.
Prior to the club announcing their move to the National Premier Soccer League in November 2015, Rudland joined AFC Ann Arbor after two very successful seasons with Lansing United.
In his first year with the club, Coach Rudland lead Ann Arbor to the second best record in the Great Lakes Conference in addition to earning a playoff berth. Having Rudland at the helm in the club’s first NPSL season allowed them to compete right away finishing in the top 16 in the country out of 90+ teams.
After an early exit in the 2016 playoffs, Rudland looked for his team to build off the club’s accomplishments and push on in their 2017 campaign. After winning the first Great Lakes Conference Championship in club history, AFC also won their first playoff match after defeating Dayton Dynamo 1-0, finishing in the final 8 in the country. Rudland and his team also set 12 club records in 2017 with an impressive 33 GF while only allowing 9 GA all season.
With preparations underway for the 2018 campaign, Rudland will look to continue his winning ways and build off the club’s success in 2017.
He added, “As we’re kicking off the team building process right now I'm looking forward to working with the players the most. We are targeting a blend of solid returning players & a few new additions- and making the playoffs two years in a row will definitely help with that process. The season is exciting and there is a lot of build up towards it, but at the end of the day for me it's about being on the field each day working together as a group. that is the real joy.”
When asked what supporters can expect to change in 2018, Rudland added, “Last year, my second with the club, we took some major steps forward on the football side, specially with our training environment and the consistency of our staff. We’re hoping to keep that consistency this year and take the next step forward competitively. We'll obviously have some new players who will make an impact and we want to perform at a high level for the fans and the community. With so many good teams in the league I would say that AFC as a group will need to work even harder to maintain our place in the league. So, I wouldn't necessarily say a lot changes, however our mentality must be even stronger.”
About AFC Ann Arbor
Association Football Club Ann Arbor (AFC Ann Arbor), Washtenaw County's only semi-pro soccer team, enters its third third season in the National Premier Soccer League after securing the 2017 Great Lakes Conference Championship.
To join the AFCAA Family and purchase your 2018 Membership click here.