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Lansing Common FC Prepares For Inaugural Soccer Season

Lansing Common
Lansing Common

The community-owned soccer amateur club wants to bring soccer back to the Mid-Michigan area.

Steve Beckman observed Lansing Common FC tryouts from the stands on a brisk Sunday in April. The players conditioned on the field while prospective announcers and commentators auditioned in the press box. 

“Welcome to Lansing Eastern stadium, the home of the Lansing Common FC,” Beckman heard over the speakers and suddenly, it all felt real.

“You get a little goose-bumpy because the first time that’s really going to happen when we have a lot of fans in the stands is going to be just a surreal thing,” Beckman, the club’s secretary, said. “When that first whistle blows and they kick off I don’t know how any of us are not going to be nervous and excited at the same time.”

Lansing Common FC is a nonprofit, community-owned soccer club that will kick off its inaugural season on May 15. The preparation to that start date has been tedious after it all began in Nov. 2019 at Ozone’s Brewery in downtown Lansing.

Following the shutdown of Lansing Ignite, soccer-loving community members felt driven to start a team of their own. Sharing in the frustration of Lansing’s rocky soccer past, Lansing Common FC President Eric Walcott took to social media to invite people in the community interested in running a soccer team to meet at Ozone’s. 

“We thought we’d see who shows up and if we get a lot of interest, we’ll move ahead with it and if five people show up then maybe that’s the end of it and it was a nice dream,” Walcott said. “We packed the bar, it was standing room only and so that was kind of the launch.”

The club has grown to 309 members from the community. Four different types of memberships are available, ranging from $50 at entry level to $200 at the top tier. The perks include tickets to games, merchandise, and opportunities for members to vote in club decisions and board elections. 

These memberships were created to tend to the club’s mission of involving the community in the makeup and success of the organization.  

Lansing Common
Credit Lansing Common

“The two things that we’ve said from the beginning are foundational to our club is one that we represent and be accountable to the community of the Lansing area and two that we build sustainably,” Walcott said. “I say kind of jokingly our number one goal is to exist. If we’re here in five years that’s great, and obviously we want to be a lot more than that, but that’s step number one.”

Outside of the community, members who brought Lansing Common FC to life, the team itself is made up of many different athletes from the area. Holt High alumni Josh Rosendale will compete for Lansing Common FC after the conclusion of his college soccer season at Olivet. 

As a Division III collegiate athlete, Rosendale said he is most excited to play alongside athletes from different skill levels.

“Just getting to play with really good talent, a lot of Division I guys, Division 2, NAI,” Rosendale said. “I feel like it’s really going to help me grow as a player for the following college season so I’m really excited about getting to play with some high quality players.”

Leutrim Shefkiu, a native of Mason, will bring an even closer connection than the community players he’s seen in high school – he’ll also be playing with his brother Lirim.

“To an extent we’ve almost played too much together, we’ve always been kind of shoulder to shoulder being with each other,” Shefkiu joked of him and his brother’s relationship on the field. “We’re willing to listen to each other more than anyone else. If we’re having a tough time on the field, we know how to talk to each other and get the most out of each other.” 

Lansing Common
Credit Lansing Common

Shefkiu plays at Spring Arbor University, where Lansing Common FC Head Coach Josh Oakley coaches. Lansing Common FC will begin practicing during the first week of May after the conclusion of the college season. 

Attendance at the May 15 opening game will be at 20% according to Beckman. Ticket information will be posted on the team’s website.

“Due to capacity restrictions, we would love to have a full house at the top limit but it’s not going to be all public tickets. It’s going to be people that have reserved season tickets ahead of time,” Beckman said. 

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