Cleveland SC is an American amateur soccer club based in the Greater Cleveland, Ohio region. Cleveland competes in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) as part of the Midwest Region's East Conference. The club was established on February 19, 2018, taking over from the recently defunct AFC Cleveland as the city's representative in the NPSL.
|Full name||Cleveland Soccer Club|
|Founded||February 19, 2018|
|Stadium||George Finnie Stadium|
|Head coach||Ryan Osborne|
|League||National Premier Soccer League|
Playoffs: National Semifinals
Samuel Seibert, a local Cleveland banker and administrator, founded the club after being approached by a group of former AFC Cleveland players who wanted to see competitive soccer retained in the Cleveland area. The club plays home matches at George Finnie Stadium, located in Berea, Ohio on the campus of Baldwin Wallace University. In 2018, CSC had played at Don Shula Stadium in University Heights but were forced to move due to stadium renovations.
Cleveland has a rivalry with fellow Ohioan NPSL club FC Columbus, named the Cheese Barn Derby by supporters. Former professional players to have appeared for the club include Riley Grant and Ben Fitzpatrick, while Louie Rolko served as an assistant coach.
For the previous six seasons, from 2012 to 2017, AFC Cleveland had represented the city of Cleveland in the National Premier Soccer League. That run had included an NPSL national championship in 2016, as well as two appearances in the U.S. Open Cup. However, the club was expelled from the NPSL due to "not [being] in good financial standing with the league." That announcement came on December 12, 2017, just months before the new NPSL season was set to begin.
The catalysts for founding Cleveland SC were two former AFC Cleveland players, Coletun Long and Chris Cvecko. According to Long, the two "started having a conversation in the car and talked further in a Chipotle parking lot outside the city. We wrote down ideas and called teammates and others previously associated with AFC Cleveland.” One of those people contacted was Samuel Seibert, a native of Northeast Ohio who had been on the media relations staff for AFC Cleveland. He would go on to take the lead on the NPSL expansion process, culminating in an official announcement of Cleveland SC as an NPSL expansion club on February 19, 2018. That announcement came just 90 days before the club was set to play its first regular season match.
Prior to the season beginning, CSC announced that the club would be playing its inaugural season at Don Shula Stadium, located in University Heights, Ohio on the campus of John Carroll University. In conjunction with local designers, a crest and kits featuring an orange and black color combination were launched in mid-March, less than a month before the club's inaugural match. Ryan Osborne was announced as the club's first head coach and the first two matches in club history took part in April, the inaugural edition of the Cheese Barn Derby against FC Columbus. The first-ever league match in CSC history took place on May 19, 2018, ending in a 2–0 victory over Rochester Lancers courtesy of goals from Declan McGivern and American futsal international Antonio Manfut. After a second-place finish in the Midwest-East, the club qualified for the playoffs and defeated Erie Commodores in the quarterfinals before falling to AFC Ann Arbor in the regional semifinals.
During the 2018 season, Cleveland SC played home matches at Don Shula Stadium, located in University Heights, Ohio on the campus of John Carroll University. The stadium has a capacity of 5,416, which made it the second-largest stadium in the Midwest-East behind only Marina Auto Stadium. Cleveland played its first match at Shula Stadium on May 19, 2018, defeating Rochester Lancers 2–0 in front of a crowd of a couple hundred. Cleveland finished with four wins, one draw, and one loss in home matches during its lone season at the stadium.
Due to renovation work at Shula Stadium over the summer of 2019, Cleveland moved to Baldwin Wallace University's George Finnie Stadium, located in Berea, Ohio. The 7,800 capacity stadium still holds the title of being the second-largest stadium in the Midwest-East, behind Marina Auto Stadium. Cleveland will debut at Finnie Stadium on May 5, 2019, playing an international friendly match against Monarcas Morelia Reserves.
Although the NPSL does not require clubs to stream matches, Cleveland SC streamed every home match in 2018 on Mycujoo. Vince McKee served as the main commentator for the duration of the season, while the color commentator role was filled by a rotating cast of analysts.
Although the two clubs are in different conferences, Cleveland has a friendly rivalry with fellow Ohioan NPSL club FC Columbus. Both clubs were founded in 2018, and their inaugural matches came against each other in a home-and-home friendly series in April 2018. Supporters of the clubs dubbed the rivalry the Grandpa's Cheese Barn Derby, or simply the Cheese Barn Derby, named after a landmark business that sits just off Interstate 71 in Ashland, Ohio. The actual barn is roughly equidistant between the cities of Cleveland and Columbus. In 2018, the first year of the rivalry, neither team was able to claim the Derby title: both Cleveland and Columbus won their away game 3–2, meaning the inaugural Cheese Barn Derby ended in a 5–5 tie.
The primary supporters' group for Cleveland SC is 6th City Syndicate, an "independent supporters' group for Cleveland soccer." 6CS is unaffiliated with the club, and as such also provides support for WPSL club Cleveland Ambassadors. Prior to the foundation of Cleveland SC, 6th City Syndicate had supported AFC Cleveland, migrating to the new club after AFC Cleveland folded in December 2017.
Players and staff
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Owner and president||Samuel Seibert|
|Head coach||Ryan Osborne|
|Assistant coaches||Lewis Dunne|
|Season||Division||League||Regular season||Playoffs||U.S. Open Cup|
|2018||4||NPSL||2nd, Midwest-East||Won Midwest quarterfinal (Erie, 4–0)
Lost Midwest semifinal (Ann Arbor, 0–1)
|2019||4||NPSL||1st, Midwest-East||Won Midwest semifinal (Rochester, 6–4)
Won Midwest final (Detroit, 2–2, 3–2 pen)
Lost National semifinal (Miami, 1–4)
|Did not qualify|
- As of July 27, 2019
|2018–present||Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets||17||5||22|
|7||2018–present||St. Louis Ambush||15||5||20|
|9||2018–present||Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets||15||4||19|
Bold denotes players still playing for the club.
- As of July 27, 2019
|6||2018–present||Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets||3||0||3|
Bold denotes players still playing for the club. Only players with multiple goals are included.
- "The George Finnie Stadium". BWYellowJackets.com. Baldwin Wallace Athletics. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
- "Cleveland SC Joins the NPSL". npsl.com. National Premier Soccer League. February 19, 2018. Archived from the original on March 7, 2018. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
- "Club will play on the campus of Baldwin Wallace University". ClevelandSC.com. Cleveland SC. February 20, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
- @NPSLSoccer (December 12, 2017). "NEWS: The #NPSL today announced the termination of the memberships of AFC Cleveland (@AFCCleveland) and Sports Club Corinthians USA (@SCorinthiansUSA) in line with the NPSL Bylaws for teams not in good financial standing with the league" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Green, Chris (February 26, 2018). "Cleveland Adds Pro Soccer Team". StadiumJourney.com. Stadium Journey. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
- Burden, Brian (December 11, 2018). "Being as Cleveland as Possible". ProtagonistSoccer.com. Protagonist Soccer. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
- "Cleveland SC added to National Premier Soccer League". WKYC.com. WKYC. February 19, 2018. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
- McKee, Vince (March 6, 2018). "Cleveland SC Announces Venue For 2018 Season". NEOSportsInsiders.com. NEO Sports Insiders. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
- "Cleveland SC reveals official crest and logos". ClevelandSC.com. Cleveland SC. March 23, 2018. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
- "Match Review: Cleveland SC victorious in inaugural NPSL match". ClevelandSC.com. Cleveland SC. May 21, 2018. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
- Ekman, Tesh (April 30, 2019). "Cleveland's Other Football Team". PressureLife.com. Pressure Magazine. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
- "Don Shula Stadium at Wasmer Field". JCUSports.com. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "Cleveland SC 2–0 Rochester Lancers". NPSL.com. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "New Cleveland semipro soccer team is off to a hot start". CrainsCleveland.com. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "Cleveland SC at mycujoo". mycujoo.tv. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "Cleveland SC And FC Columbus To Compete In Preseason Series". NEOSportsInsiders.com. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- @CoryMizer (26 March 2018). "Ya'll ready for the Grandpa's Cheese Barn Derby??" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Grandpa's Cheese Barn opens new location closer to Cleveland". Cleveland.com. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "FC COLUMBUS AND CLEVELAND SC BRAVE RAIN IN SECOND LEG OF DEBUT SERIES". NPSL.com. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "6th City Syndicate". 6CSCleveland.com. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "AFC Cleveland supporters". AFCCleveland.com. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- "Cleveland SC squad". ClevelandSC.com. Cleveland SC. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
- "Cleveland SC – NPSL profile". ClevelandSC.bonzidev.com. National Premier Soccer League. Retrieved April 19, 2019.