The Flint City Bucks are preparing for their USL League Two record sixth championship match in the team’s twenty-four-year span tonight as they host Reading United AC (Pennsylvania) at Kettering University’s historic Atwood Stadium (7:30 PM kick off).
Tonight’s event will bring to a close two fantastic runs in Bucks history. The Final will mark the end of one of the most incredible USL League Two seasons that saw the Bucks amass a combined record in all competitions of 18-3-3, a Hank Steinbrecher national championship and the Michigan Milk Cup. The Bucks are 9-1-1 playing in front of their energized fan base at Atwood Stadium.
The second run that will end tonight will be the retirement of Bucks future Hall of Fame coach Demir Muftari, who will be stepping down after this season. Muftari has worked on the coaching staff since 2011 and led the team to USL League Two championships in 2014 and 2016 while also taking League Two Coach of the Year honors in 2016. Muftari will continue to work on the Bucks staff after the season and is purely focused on finishing what he started this year.
“This has definitely been one of the most interesting years ever with the Bucks based upon many factors. Injuries, personnel changes and professional trials are always a huge factor each summer for our teams, but this year was off the charts. We have an incredible group of guys that bought into the vision and understood what it takes to play in this league in the month of August. I have never had a team with this much heart. These young men are truly something special and deserve to finish on top. Regardless of the outcome, this has been a very special season for me on so many levels.”
Bucks Chairman, Dan Duggan was pleased to have the Skipper back at the helm for one last run this season. “When we decided to move to Flint, it was going to be difficult for last year’s coach (and former Muftari assistant) Paul Thomas to be able to train the team this summer. So Gary (Parsons) and I decided there was only one answer and that was to bring Demir back from the front office to go behind the bench one last season to help us develop a winner in Flint. What he has done this year is nothing short of spectacular. I have always said he was one of the top coaches for the U23 players in America and he showed off his unique ability this year by molding an ever changing squad of over 40 players to find 18 guys willing to battle right to the championship match. I can’t thank he and his family enough for the sacrifice he has made in making this all work this summer. I know the players appreciate his sacrifice and hard work, as does the entire community here in Flint.”
Director of Coaching Parsons echoed those sentiments and looks forward to the future as well. “Demir put a succession plan in place at the beginning of the year to hire Andy Wagstaff as his Associate Head Coach with the idea that Andy would take the helm next year. Demir will remain on our staff in an advisory role, but Andy will take the team next year. It was great having them work side by side through every win and every bit of adversity this season so Wags will know what to expect next season. The future continues to look great for the Bucks and this excited fan base we have created here in Flint.”
The Bucks are looking for their USL League Two record fourth North American championship tonight to go with their titles in 2006, 2014 and 2016. The team has appeared in a record six national finals since 1996.
Tickets for tonight’s match are $15 VIP reserved, $10 Adult GA and $5 Youth GA (12-under). Tickets may be purchased via www.ticketmaster.com and at the stadium gates. Great seats are still available! Atwood Stadium opens at 6 pm tonight. Fans are encouraged to arrive early to avoid long lines this evening.