Mayor Tom Henry announced Sept. 9 that the city is getting a pro soccer club, Fort Wayne Football Club, an expansion team of the National Premier Soccer League.
Fort Wayne FC joins the 94-team national outdoor soccer league at the fourth tier of the United States soccer pyramid, according to a statement from the city. The club will begin competition in the Midwest Region’s Great Lakes Conference starting in May. Fort Wayne FC plans to introduce a competitive women’s team in 2022.
FWFC will draw its interest, experience, and knowledge from members, players, and supporters of Fort Wayne’s local adult and youth soccer clubs as well as many smaller soccer clubs and college and high school soccer teams in Fort Wayne and its 11-county region of northeast Indiana, according to the city’s statement.
Greg Mauch will serve as the team’s general manager. He is a member of the Indiana Soccer Hall of Fame and the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He has been men’s soccer coach at Canterbury Schools in southwest Fort Wayne for 38 years.
The Fort Wayne FC will be an added team to the NPSL-Great Lakes Conference. Organizers hope to generate a positive economic impact for Fort Wayne and the surrounding area will Fort Wayne as a destination for soccer enthusiasts.
The club’s mission isn’t minor. Its focus is “to make soccer the preeminent sport in Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana, in support of U.S. Soccer efforts to develop world-class players, coaches, and referees,” according to the city.
A previous attempt at pro soccer in Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne Fever, part of the USL Premier Development League, was founded in 2003, but dissolved in 2009. The announcement comes less than a year after another pro sports team, the Indiana Blue Bombers of the National Gridiron League, announced it would bring back indoor arena football to Fort Wayne. The team announced in April that it was delaying its first season, set for May 5, until 2020.
Check back for updates here and in Sept. 13’s Business Weekly.