The four-time national champion Flint City Bucks have acquired renowned women’s side Corktown AFC. The team will be relocated and rebranded as Flint City AFC and will play in USL W League at Kettering’s historic Atwood Stadium this summer. The acquisition and relaunch introduces a new partnership between the Bucks and Corktown AFC founder and owner, Eddie Hudson. Mr. Hudson is a successful attorney and businessman from metropolitan Detroit.
“We are excited to form this partnership with Eddie Hudson and launch a USL W League team in Flint, Michigan,” said Costa Papista, President of Flint City AFC. “Starting a women's side has always been on our radar and the timing of USL W League's launch is ideal for our organization. We know that our supporters will be excited as they have been strongly encouraging us to make this a reality.”
Flint City AFC, will be an extension of the Flint City Bucks organization, and will serve as a development platform for athletes in Flint and its surrounding cities to pursue pre-professional careers in women’s soccer through the USL’s robust women’s pathway. A cornerstone of this commitment is the club’s home venue at Kettering’s historic Atwood Stadium where both the men’s and women’s pre-professional teams will play home matches in the upcoming 2022 season.
“We are very excited to join Flint City to make this happen,'' said Eddie Hudson, Flint City AFC co-owner. “We have watched this fanbase and supporter group grow, and we know they will love the energy, grit and skill that our ladies will bring to Flint.”
“This Flint City Bucks partnership will expand the city's sports, entertainment, and economic development footprint,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “Over the years, some of Flint’s greatest athletes have gone on to successful professional careers. This is a wonderful opportunity for Flint to continue being the perfect location to highlight elite athletes from high school, college and all the way to professional stage.”
Flint City AFC, formerly Detroit based Corktown AFC, competed in the UWS National League’s Midwest North Conference, playing at The Corner Ballpark (the former Tiger Stadium site) in 2021. Coach Aaron Roy’s side finished runner-up (7-3-0, 21 points) to first-place Midwest United FC of Grand Rapids (9-0-1, 28 points). Itala Gemelli (6 goals, 2 assists) and Madison Schupbach (4 goals and 2 assists) led the team in scoring.
The women’s outfit has been awash with success, reaching the 2017 UWS National Championships in Grand Rapids where it bowed out to eventual winner, Santa Clarita (California) Heat. The team made the UWS playoffs in 2018 and 2019 as well. The club did not play in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Roy, a native of Madison Heights, is a 21-year soccer coaching veteran and will be joined by general manager, Skip Muhktar.
The USL W League, which is set to kick off in May of 2022, is comprised of top clubs from across USL Championship, League One, and League Two.
“We are excited to welcome Flint City AFC to the W League for the 2022 season,” said Betsy Haugh, Director of USL Women’s Soccer Operations. “The club’s vision to offer more opportunities to athletes in Flint and its surrounding cities perfectly aligns with the mission of the W League to provide a pathway to the professional game for players across the nation. We look forward to seeing what this team will accomplish in the league’s inaugural season.”
The regional teams in close proximity to Flint and Genesee County that USL W has announced thus far for 2022 include: AFC Ann Arbor, Detroit City FC, Grand Rapids-based Midwest United FC, Indy Eleven, Cincinnati based Kings Hammer FC and Louisville City.
The Tampa Bay-based United Soccer League (USL) is the largest and fastest-growing professional soccer organization in North America. Overseeing the USL Championship (USSF Division II), USL Super League (Division II) USL League One (USSF Division III), USL League Two (Pre-Professional) and USL W League (Pre-Professional) , the organization counts more than 125 clubs in its membership.