Season Recap: PC Division Clubs
For most clubs, supporters, and players involved with the Lower League eCup, the eCup is often an offseason segway into the new year.
Over the next six weeks, we’ll be recapping some of the best performances by eCup clubs in 2021. We'll also share the recaps of the games, stories, and seasons that made 2021 special for so many clubs and individual players.
Today, in the first edition of our Summer Recap series, we’re focusing on three of the best performances by clubs from the 2021 PC Division. Although by far the smallest division of the Lower League eCup, the PC Division brought eight incredibly diverse amateur clubs and supporters groups from across the country together in 2021.
Lansing Common FC
League: Midwest Premier League
Result: Runner-Up, East Division
One of the fascinating amateur clubs to rise the ranks during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lansing Common FC exceeded expectations in their inaugural season. A non-profit, supporter-owned club founded out of the ashes of the Lansing Ignite (USL1), Lansing has built not only a strong product on the pitch, and more importantly, a sustainable club for their community.
In their inaugural season, Lansing posted ten wins out of fourteen matches, good enough for second place in the East Division of the Midwest Premier League. The Robins only finished behind the U23 side of the current NISA Champion, Detroit City FC, and finished eleven points clear of fourth place. Their success included a seven-match unbeaten streak in league play from May 28th to July 7th.
Despite finishing behind Detroit in the final table, the Robins were able to create their own fourth of July firework show, thrashing Detroit 3-0 on the fourth of July. That result constituted the only match all season in which Detroit City dropped points, as Le Rouge finished with a 13-1 clip in league play. In addition to their league success, Lansing Common dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 road result to USL League 2 National Quarterfinalist Kalamazoo FC.
Nevertheless, the result proved that the Robins could compete with the best of the best, and we only expect to see the club continue to grow both on-and-off the field as it heads into its second season in 2021.
(Photo Credit: Lansing Common FC)
Space United FC
League: NISA Independent Cup
Season Result: 2nd Place - Pacific Region
Somewhat of a surprise entrant into the 2021 NISA Independent Cup, not many knew what to expect of the west-coast outfit. With a squad consisting entirely of space professionals, the club strives to “unite space and soccer to inspire and uplift communities."
Entered into a difficult Pacific region, the club made the most of their two Independent Cup matches. On July 10, they scored twice in stoppage time to force a 2-2 draw and stun PDX FC (USL2), who is perhaps the top amateur side in the Northwest. Following their 2-2 result, the club entered their July 24 matchup against professional side Bay Cities FC (NISA) with a chance to not only collect another statement result but to clinch the Pacific Region title. Unfortunately, Space United could only manage an impressive 2-2 draw, finishing second in the group behind PDX FC.
In addition to their on-the-field success, Space United has also achieved tremendous off-the-field success in 2021. Their non-profit program, Goal for Launch, has continued to grow since the beginning of the pandemic. According to the club, Goal for Launch is “a unique community outreach program that uses the forces of space and soccer to inspire and support youth while increasing diversity in the STEM industry”. The program reached over 7,000 students during 2020 alone and continues to grow today.
And while we wait to see what’s next for Space United, one thing’s for certain. The space nerds can play, and they’re making a far greater difference off the field as well.
(Photo Credit: Space United FC)
Oakland County FC
League: USL League Two
Season Result: 6th Place, Great Lakes Division
Nearly eighteen months after making the jump up from the UPSL to USL League Two in November 2019, Oakland County was finally able to take part in their first USL League Two season. Put into one of the top divisions in USL League Two among the likes of the 2019 National Champions, the Flint City Bucks, we weren’t sure what to expect out of the expansion side.
Nevertheless, Oakland County posted a respectable 5-3-6 mark, finishing just under .500 in their first season in a significantly tougher league. That record was good enough for the second-best regular season in club history.
Despite some growing pains, Oakland County proved once again that it could compete with any amateur side in the nation. On June 2nd, the club handed Kalamazoo FC their only loss of the regular season (3-2 in Kalamazoo) and followed that result with a 2-2 draw in their second matchup to take the season series. Kalamazoo would finish the season with one of the best records in League Two this year and reached the National Quarterfinals before falling on a 93rd-minute goal to the eventual national champions, the Des Moines Menace.