As the returning Great Lakes Champions, Association Football Club Ann Arbor are eager to get back on the pitch to defend their title, as they enter the club’s third season in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL).
The 2018 NPSL (Great Lakes Conference; Midwest Region) schedule includes twelve matches in total: six home and six away.
Just as they did in 2017, The AFC Ann Arbor will open up NPSL play on the road at Milwaukee. Last year’s contest against the Torrent proved to be a physical match and challenging opener, but AFCAA prevailed with a 3-1 scoreline and three points.
The NPSL home opener brings Detroit City FC to Ann Arbor. The Mighty Oak won both regular season matches against Le Rouge in 2017 but were unable to defeat them for a third time in an epic Midwest Region Final.
The playoff format will remain the same as the 2017 season, seeing the conference’s top two teams move on to the regional playoffs. Of those six teams, the top two conference winners in the Midwest Region will receive a bye to the regional semifinals.
Compared to last year’s schedule, The Mighty Oak will play two less league games (12 instead of 14) after two teams departed the conference (Lansing United and Michigan Stars) before adding FC Columbus.
In fourteen matches last season, Ann Arbor lost just one and finished with a 12-1-1 record, going undefeated at home. With an impressive 37 points and 2.6429 points per game average, The Mighty Oak finished second in the league power rankings (out of 96 teams) and lifted their first piece of NPSL silverware as the 2017 Great Lakes Conference Champions.
At the end of last year, the club announced Head Coach & Sporting Director, Eric Rudland would return to continue leading the club in its winning ways. The recruitment and assembly of 2018’s rosters has been under way for some months now and Rudland is excited for training to begin in April.
Chairman Bilal Saeed shared his thoughts on retaining Rudland, adding, “We’re lucky to have his leadership and motivation, shape the sporting culture of this club. He always talks about it being a players game and the importance of executing to get results, but it’s his mentality, dedication, professionalism and competitive spirit that puts in a position to succeed.”
AFC Ann Arbor will be releasing the complete 2018 schedule (friendlies + other competitions) in mid-February. 2018 Memberships and Flex Plans can be purchased now with single match tickets set to go on sale in late March.