About the author: Ryan Cardarella is a freelance writer who recently moved to Rochester after spending 12 years in Milwaukee.
As the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) regular season draws to a close, Rochester’s expansion Med City FC soccer team is enjoying success—both on and off the field.
With one game remaining in the NPSL season, Med City FC sits atop the Midwest Region’s North Conference Division with a 7-2-4 record, tied at 25 points with Duluth FC. Just as importantly, the team is succeeding as a draw and gaining momentum within the Rochester community, under the direction of general manager Frank Spaeth and the Med City FC front office staff. Though Med City is in its inaugural season, home attendance has been strong and Rochester has been turning out for the first-place club.
“Our crowds have been fantastic and make a big difference for our team,” Spaeth said. “We wanted to create a competitive team with a community feel, and I think our style of play has really connected with the home crowd.”
The team has helped foster that community feel by connecting with the local youth soccer community, which has been foundational to the team’s success. Spaeth, the former Director of the Rochester Youth Soccer Association, met with youth clubs throughout the area before the season to ask for their support. Through a special sponsorship program, the team offers free season passes to all Rochester-area youth soccer players. Of the twenty-four players currently on the Med City roster, eight are local products and give aspiring youth players something to emulate.
“Kids are able to see themselves in their shoes,” Spaeth said. “The ability to see our players who came up through similar channels can really spark dreams. It’s an attainable goal for them through hard work.”
The framework for what would become Med City FC came together quickly for Spaeth, who was approached to lead the team as general manager in November. Because of its size and proximity to other division teams that play in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota, Rochester was deemed a natural fit for the league. However, that left only a few months for the front office to assemble a roster, establish partners and sponsorship opportunities, finalize travel and find host families for traveling players, and work out all the logistical details that go into supporting an athletic team.
Moving forward, the team hopes to offer more soccer camps and clinics around the area, solidify its finances, explore new ways to develop relationships with local businesses, and maintain a vibrant presence in the city during the offseason.
“It’s been a whirlwind, but I’m excited with where we are and believe the groundwork is set for future success,” Spaeth said.
Following a bitter 1-0 defeat to division co-leader Duluth FC on July 8th, Med City’s postseason aspirations will rest on the result of their regular season finale this Saturday, July 15th against Minneapolis City SC. Only two teams from each division will advance to the NPSL playoffs. The top four squads in the hotly contested North Conference Division are currently separated by a mere three points; Med City will need a win to ensure a playoff berth. The home game will start at 7 p.m. at Rochester Regional Stadium.
For more information on the team, visit medcityfc.com.