And frankly they’re not half bad. Their name is the Cleveland City Stars. The team, which play their matches at Krenzler Field was founded in 2006. The are a member of the USL Second Division (which is the lower Division) and played their inaugural season in 2007. They came out of the gate hot winning their first 9 matches. They ended the season undefeated at home taking the 2nd seed in the playoffs. They eventually lost to eventual Second Division Champions Harrisburg 1-0. The banner first season didn’t go unnoticed–at least by the USL. After the season they may not have had a championship trophy but their case was still filled. The franchise took home:
USL-2 Defender of the Year (Mark Schulte)
USL-2 Coach of the Year (Martin Rennie)
USL-2 Executive of the Year (Mark Geissbauer)
Marketing Excellence Award
USL Rookie Franchise of the Year
A promising beginning that had a familiar theme for Cleveland fans (there’s always next year). What was next for the club? A T.V deal of course. On April 7, 2008, the City Stars announced a deal with SportsTime Ohio that will see all of the team’s home games aired on the station. Each match will air tape delayed on game night. Replays will be aired on Sundays. Play-by-play and color commentary will be provided by Desmond Armstrong, 1994 World Cup TV commentator and former US national team player, and Glen Duerr, a former City Stars player.
The City Stars are owned by Cleveland Soccer Foundation, a 501 non for profit organization. They have a mission an a motto–“Serving the city, changing the world.” They hold free clinics in cities around Cleveland.
In 2008 they’ve played been near the top of the table as well. Currently they’re in second place with 23 points (after 13 matches) 5 points behind the Charlotte Eagles. At home the Green Army has gone 3-0-3 scoring 9 goal while allowing only 1. Average attendance in 2007 was about 1,417. The team played the Columbus Crew to a 2-2 draw in a reserve friendly. The Crew needed a late score to secure the draw. They moved into the third round of The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open cup, but their goal of defeating an MLS club fell short when they lost 4-1 to Chicago Fire.
Next up for the Cleveland City Stars is a return home to face Western Mass Pioneers. It takes place Friday with a matinée start time of 3 pm.