Lansing Common football wins the club’s first game on and off the pitch
It might just have been a friendly on the pitch, but Saturday night was anything but an exhibition for Lansing Common Football Club and its members.
Nineteen months of hard work put into starting a soccer team from the ground up became a reality when coach Josh Oakley’s roster hosted the Fort Wayne Sports Club at Eastern High School.
The Robins were able to prevail 3-1 thanks to goals from Kyle Scott, Travis Hamers and Josh Rosendale, but on a night when some LCFC players with Fort Wayne had to qualify for the opponent shortly before some opponents, the main character The off-field focus created a welcoming environment when men’s football returned to Lansing.
The team was limited to 500 fans due to Ingham County’s current health care contracts, but the club sold every ticket on Saturday, leaving room for optimism that the regular season opener against West Michigan Bearings next weekend will result in an outright sell-off. And with the CDC’s latest mask guidelines announced late last week, more people should be able to attend.
“Hopefully the crowd we saw tonight all go home and tell their friends and family that they had a great time at the game and that it’s a fun team on the field and it brings more people,” said LCFC President Eric Walcott. “I think we are in a good place.”
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For fans of Lansing football, there were some similarities with previous teams on Saturday. The support group, led by the drum of the leader Richard Schenck, was in full force just like in 2019 with Lansing Ignite and Lansing United before. Maintaining his own traditions, Cody Reavis went into the stands shirtless despite the windy and cloudy conditions and waved the flag of Lansing City, which was also in the foreground at Ignite games. And the total of eleven Tifos hung along the fence line, with more than a few references to the recent history of Lansing football.
Expect more tifos next week.
“There were a lot more people than I thought,” said Scott, who scored the first goal in the club’s history. “I was happy about it. They had a lot of chants and I just thought it was crazy that they already had them in mind.
“I think all these people who want to come out and support the community are great. It’s nice to see a stadium full for some time. “
Oakley’s starting line-up consisted of two Michigan State players – goalkeeper Zac Kelly and defenseman Dante Morrissette – and five Greater Lansing natives: Kelly, striker Shady Omar and midfielders Munir Sherali, Lirim Shefkiu and Leutrim Shefkiu.
Morrissette and Sherali both had support that night.
“(The sell-off) was amazing, but I think in many ways that it was expected because of the hard work of so many,” said Oakley. “I’m just happy to be a small part of it. Bravo to everyone who made this day possible and now hopefully we can grow and get better and move on and keep the momentum going. “
Walcott and the rest of the board members are in transition mode. They were an integral part of the support groups for United and / or Ignite, but they were unable to watch Saturday’s game with the usual comfort of the support group. Instead, some wore bright yellow shirts that acted as match day operations and were responsible for tasks like handling tickets, the goods counter, and managing the Facebook live stream.
That’s what life is like as a fan team.
Sykes, the vice president who was on merch on Saturday, estimated that he had watched 10 minutes of the game. Walcott joked that he could watch mid-season football. Board member Scott Oberlander was at the stadium at 10 a.m., part of the group that set up cameras for the live stream. Others arrived between 12:30 pm and 1:00 pm to begin what their ritual will be at every home game.
“When the team started leaving (before the game) I stood here and was choked to death watching them go. I just thought of all the hard work so many people put into making this a reality” said Walcott. “It was so exciting to see this community come out and support the team.
“There are definitely things that we can improve, kinks that we will iron out on and off the field. It went fantastic for something the fans created and I’m thrilled with how it went. “
Contact digital sports reporter Phil Friend at 517-377-1220 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Phil_Friend.