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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

Keyworth Stadium - Detroit City FC



Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.29

Keyworth Stadium 3201 Roosevelt St Hamtramck, MI 48212

Year Opened: 1936 Capacity: 7,000

 

Detroit City Rocks Hamtramck and Beyond

Detroit FC debuted at Keyworth Stadium in 2016 after playing its home matches at Cass Technical High School for the previous four seasons. The move to a new venue was necessary since the team had quickly outgrown its home pitch and needed a larger facility to hold its burgeoning crowds.


The club initiated a crowd-based investment program to renovate and rehabilitate Keyworth Stadium in nearby Hamtramck. The MILE (Michigan Invests Locally Exemption) Act allows companies in the state to accept loans from small investors ($250-$10,000) provided that they are Michigan residents. A total of $741,250 was raised in 109 days from 527 verified Michigan residents.

Keyworth Stadium originally opened on October 15, 1936, when Franklin Roosevelt spoke during his second campaign for the presidency. The 6,000-seat stadium has been the home of various interscholastic sports throughout its history but had fallen on hard times the last few decades.


The money raised was used for structural improvements to the grandstands, renovations of locker rooms and restrooms, and modernization of lighting and the playing turf. Other improvements included concrete resurfacing, a new sound system, and plans for a natural grass pitch in future seasons.


Built between the city’s dense residential streets and a large set of train tracks, Keyworth Stadium is the type of structure that most likely will never be built again by any professional sports entity in this country. Houses and streets touch the exterior of the grandstands and fans exit and enter in front of residential front porches and lawns.

In 2020 DCFC began operations in the National Independent Soccer Association after playing in the NPSL Pro fall showcase as a professional club in 2019. The looks to sustain a standard of excellence in its new league while playing host to its rivals Chattanooga FC and the New York Cosmos.


All of the food served at Keyworth Stadium are from local area food trucks and other local proprietors, showcasing the many influences of different cultures in the city. A majority of these food trucks are located behind the end line in between the two main entrances creating a bustling street fair atmosphere.





Food & Beverage 5


All of the food served at Keyworth Stadium are from local area food trucks and other local proprietors, showcasing the many influences of different cultures in the city. A majority of these food trucks are located behind the end line in between the two main entrances creating a bustling street fair atmosphere.

Fans can enjoy slices of pizza for $4 or a whole pie for $22. There are also delicious chicken and lamb shawarmas, falafel, and gyros for $6 and $8. There is the Heroes and Villains truck, offering gourmet sandwiches named after popular comic book characters.


However, Srodek’s has the largest line at the game with folks waiting to taste one of their gourmet kielbasa sandwiches and perogies. The sandwiches are served on locally made buns, topped with homemade sauerkraut, and are available in cheddar, smoked, pepper jack, and ghost pepper for $6. The perogies come in orders of 5 and are also $6.

You can wash down all of these wonderful delicacies with Detroit’s own Faygo pop for $3, Axle City Pale Ale, Blake’s Hard Cider and mixed drinks for $6, and Stroh’s for $4. Stroh’s and Axle City are the only two beers you can purchase at the game.



Atmosphere 5

If you attend a soccer game at Keyworth Stadium and do not become a fan, don’t blame Detroit City FC. The excitement begins 60 minutes before the game with the March to the Match. Supporters meet at Fowling Warehouse, an official pre-game destination, and march through the streets of Hamtramck while drumming, chanting, and singing.


Once inside the facility, the North Guard and other supporters group take up residency along the eastside seating section and spend the match singing an established series of songs, throwing smoke bombs after goals, and creating a truly one-of-a-kind atmosphere for any level of soccer in the United States. The group has an unbridled passion for DCFC and ranks with the best of them in any other market.





If you want to enjoy the game in a more subdued area, then purchase a ticket on the opposite side of the stadium with a slightly relaxed group of fans. The seating area was created with refurbished wooden seats that were removed from the supporter section. The stadium is absent a track making sightlines up close and personal to the action.

The main entrance behind the goal line is also an area of heavy traffic and activity. The majority of food is served and a portable cart sells a variety of merchandise from scarves, t-shirts in multiple colors and styles, jerseys, and jackets. The lines are long, but the orders are expedited quickly.

In 2019, the team unveiled suites made from refurbished industrial shipping containers as VIP seating behind the goal at the north end of the stadium. The suites add to the imagination that exists inside Keyworth as the club has been very imaginative with the game day experience.


Neighborhood 3

Hamtramck, Michigan sits right over the border of Detroit and is the most densely populated city in the state, with over 22,000 residents packed into 2.09 square miles. Known as a vibrant community for Polish American life and culture, the city continued attracting immigrants and now features a large Bengali, Yemeni, and Pakistani population.

One of the most interesting places might just be Amar’s Pizza where visitors can order traditional pizza but some with a unique twist that includes Naga Pizza (chicken, red onions, cilantro, and naga sauce), Tandoori Pizza (tandoori chicken, cheese, and tandoori sauce), and Dry Fish Pizza (dried shrimp and spicy fish paste).



The pre-game destination before each match is The Fowling Warehouse (3901 Christopher Street). Supporters spend their time enjoying a few drinks, having conversations along the large bar, and playing the football bowling pin game called fowling.


Hamtramck has been described as one of the last bastions of unpolluted dive bars in Detroit. Several dive bars line the streets and look the way they did 50 years ago, including the Whiskey in a Jar, Polish Sea League, Paycheck’s Lounge, Kelly’s Bar, and Moose Lodge.


McShane’s Pub is the official post-game destination and offers shuttle services from its location at 1460 Michigan Ave.


Fans 5

DCFC is a fan-driven team, attracting mammoth crowds that average close to 6,000 per game. They have taken in the excitement and pageantry at home matches. It is rare not to see someone sporting one of a couple dozen jerseys or t-shirts cheering on the home team, or yelling at the ref for a bad call. Many are enjoying the great food and atmosphere, but many are there strictly for the game on the field.




Access 4

Keyworth Stadium is surprisingly quite easy to maneuver around during the game. All of the food and drinks are served in one area that features ample space and a few long lines. Seats are spacious enough to move up and down. Bathrooms are located behind the main seating section and can be quite dense during halftime. Arriving at the game at the multiple lots is also quite easy, but might be a little challenging for first-time visitors to the stadium.


Return on Investment 5

Tickets and parking are $12 each but go up in price to $15 on match day, a great price for the atmosphere. Parking lots are easily accessible, adjacent to the stadium. It is possible to find parking on the streets before the game or take one of the shuttle buses from McShane’s Pub. The price of food from the food trucks is extremely reasonable and delicious. Beer prices are also affordable at $4 and $6.


Extras 3

One extra point for the amazing, diverse, and delicious food served at the game which includes pizza, kielbasa, perogies, shawarma, and gyros. The beers are cold and include Axle City Pale Ale and Stroh’s.


Another additional point for the collection of merchandise includes a wide variety of t-shirts, jerseys, scarves, and caps. There are long lines to snatch up something in the team colors of maroon and gold.

A third extra point for the atmosphere begins with the march to the match and continues with the supporter group North Guard chanting and singing from their section. One finally extra point for having ice-cold Stroh’s for only $4 a can.


DCFC is renovating and invigorating life back into Keyworth Stadium. It was dilapidated and in squalid condition before the arrival of the soccer club.


Final Thoughts

Attending a DCFC game is quite the spectacle. It is a 90-minute plus party that includes singing, cheering, eating, drinking, and celebrating. The location of the stadium and the ensuing revelry establishes Keyworth Stadium as one of the must-see soccer venues in the United States.


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Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at Marc.Viquez@stadiumjourney.com




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