AFC Ann Arbor are pleased to announce, as confirmed by chairman Bilal Saeed on the inaugural ‘Welcome to Tree Town’ podcast, their new home for the 2019 season, and beyond, to be Concordia University’s Cardinal Stadium. Located off of Geddes Avenue in Ann Arbor, fans will be pleased to have a set location to call home for the years to come.
When thinking about the decision on where exactly to play their home matches, this sort of thought process is exactly what went on through the head of Rishi Narayan, a co-owner of AFC Ann Arbor and a member of the club board of directors. “We've been looking for a venue for some time now that we can truly call ‘home’,” Narayan said. “We've loved playing at our area high schools, but are excited that our fans can have some stability and know where they need to go to watch The Mighty Oak.”
Last season saw The Mighty Oak play a home match in four separate venues, including their regular season home of Ann Arbor Skyline, hosting the NPSL Midwest Regional at Huron High School, and hosting a U.S. Open Cup tie at Eastern Michigan University’s Scicluna Field. With a more permanent move to Cardinal Stadium, there can be a greater sense of permanence in what is exactly the home for AFCAA.
The reasoning behind the selection of Concordia was remarkably clear for both Narayan and the club as a whole. Narayan said, “Concordia has been a partner of AFCAA since the beginning, initially only a location for training. However, we were familiar with the space and the amenities, and felt that its size and arrangement was ideal for the Match Day experience that we wanted to provide to our fans.”
The space and amenities that Narayan describes are not only modern, but is also one of the most up-to-date stadiums in all of Washtenaw County. Cardinal Stadium opened its gates in 2015 to provide CUAA with an on-campus location for their football team, among other sports such as soccer. The stadium seats between 2,000 and 2,500 with the grandstand, some additional bleachers with the option for additional standing room. In terms of what the players have to look forward to, The Mighty Oak will be playing their home matches on a beautiful turf field. Cardinal Stadium itself also features locker rooms and an athletic training room for the players.
Lonnie Pries has served as CUAA’s Director of Athletics since 2013. He, too, is excited for the move by The Mighty Oak onto Concordia’s campus. Pries said, “We're thrilled to build on our relationship with AFC Ann Arbor and becoming their home venue for the foreseeable future will allow our organizations to work together as we continue to make our community stronger!” With both AFCAA and Concordia continually committed to helping Ann Arbor grow as a city, the union of both helps serve as a catalyst for even greater things to come.
The Mighty Oak’s fans have much to look forward to. As moves always offer great excitement, Narayan stoked the flames of excitement for supporters by saying, “Nothing will change for our fans when it comes to the bar we set on providing an awesome match experience!” As some fans may have questions over match day procedures that could potentially change, Narayan instructs fans, “Look for more updates from us on logistical changes in the coming weeks.”
With a permanent home now officially in place, coaching staffs set up for both the men’s and women’s sides, and try-outs on the horizon for both teams, the season is well and truly around the corner. Stay on the lookout for at AFCAnnArbor.com for the latest news, and make sure to follow @AFCAnnArbor on Twitter for continually updates on the team.