West MI Minor League Soccer Team, Grand Rapids Football Club Shuts Down
After seven seasons, Grand Rapids Football Club is ceasing operations.
Funded by a group of founding members and local sponsors, the soccer club started in 2014.
GRFC played a majority of their home games at the historical Houseman Field.
In 2016, GRFC joined the National Premier Soccer League and made the playoffs, setting their single-season attendance record of 6,912 in their win against Indy Eleven in the NPSL Midwest Regional playoffs. That same year GRFC added a women’s side, who would go on to win the United Women’s Soccer League in their first season in 2017. Near the end of 2019, GRFC made the move to USL League Two, a semi-professional developmental soccer league sponsored by United Soccer Leagues.
According to a release from GRFC, setbacks during the pandemic and several other "significant financial challenges" have led to the decision to disband the club.
WZZM-13 talked to Eric Albertson, a big soccer fan and owner of the bar SpeakEZ, who says,
Grand Rapids Football Club was founded right here at SpeakEZ.
Albertson helped create The Grand Army, a fan base for GRFC that would show up in the thousands to support the team.
Former player and General Manager, Joe Broekhuizen tells WZZM-13 he things soccer will return to Grand Rapids some day.
Broekhuizen said in a release,
How does one sum up a club like this into words. It hurts, and I want every fan and supporter to know we worked tirelessly for the past few months on solutions and alternatives. The only thing I have to say now is Thank You. Founding members, Lifetime Members, The Grand Army, youth players, parents, grandparents, former players, coaches, front office personnel, owners, donors, sponsors, city workers, news outlets, and anyone who pulled on that crest, Thank You. I speak for countless former players when I say representing the city of Grand Rapids and GRFC were some of the best years of our lives playing that beautiful game. Please never hesitate to say hello and trade a few stories. Those memories will long live on. We will always be One City One Club.
If you see any former players or personnel in the future, we will always be here for a laugh and a story.
In life, many things are temporary. Grand Rapids FC is forever.
Grand Rapids Til I Die