Sports Beat: Home openers Saturday at Atwood for Flint City Bucks (men) Friday for Flint City AFC (women)

By Harold C. Ford

The Flint City Bucks men’s soccer club hosts its first match of the 2023 season at Atwood Stadium in downtown Flint on Saturday, May 27 starting at 7:30 p.m. Flint will take on Grand Rapids-based Midwest United FC (football club). A fireworks display will follow the match.

The Bucks opened the season on the road with a 2-0 win over Kalamazoo FC May 19 with goals from Josemir Gomez and Palmer Ault. The goals were assisted, respectively, by Malik Henry and Wylie Trujillo.  Flint’s Dominic Nascimben earned the shutout in goal.


The Flint City AFC women’s soccer club will host AFC Ann Arbor at Atwood Stadium one night earlier on Friday, May 26, starting at 7 p.m.

Flint City AFC is undefeated thus far in the 2023 season with a record of two wins and two ties. Flint is currently tied for first place with Kalamazoo FC in the Great Lakes Division of the USL W.

Flint City AFC opened its season May 6 with a with a 5-1 win over Ann Arbor AFC. Two goals from Beth Gaetino, and single scores from Jenna Blackburn, Samantha Woods, and Justina Gaynor accounted for Flint’s five scores.

Flint City Bucks AFC women players. (Photo source: Flint Bucks | Amanda Thick)

Flint City Bucks AFC women players. (Photo source: Flint Bucks | Amanda Thick)

Flint City AFC drew twice with I-75 rival Detroit City FC on May 13 (0-0) and May 20 (2-2). An own goal and a score by Gaynor accounted for Flint’s two scores in the second meeting.

Flint City AFC’s second win of the season was by a 2-1 margin over Midwest United FC on May 17.

Flint City Bucks

During its last three complete USL2 seasons in Flint — not counting the 2020 season disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic – the Bucks have never missed the playoffs. The Bucks won the USL2 championship in 2019 before 7,000-plus fans at Flint’s Atwood Stadium. 

Founded in 1995, the team began play as the Mid-Michigan Bucks based in Saginaw. In 1996, the team changed its name to Michigan Bucks, moved to Plymouth in 2004, then to Pontiac in 2008. They began play as the Flint City Bucks in May 2019.

The Bucks have made the postseason playoffs in 24 of 27 seasons, a USL2 record. Their four league championships are unrivaled. More than 80 Bucks have graduated to professional leagues around the globe.

The Bucks are piloted by first-year head coach Paul Doroh who takes over from Andy Wagstaff. Wagstaff has transitioned to Advisor to Director of Coaching and Recruiting. Doroh is supported on the field by Rajko Jovanovich, goalkeeping coach.

Paul Doroh, Flint City Bucks coach (Photo source: Liverpool Football Club International Academy)

Flint City Bucks home schedule

  • May 27; vs. Midwest United; 7:30 p.m.
  • May 31; vs. Lansing City FC; 11 a.m.
  • June 24; vs. Oakland County FC; 7 p.m.
  • July 1; vs. South Bend Lions; 7 p.m.
  • July 8; vs. AFC Ann Arbor; 7 p.m.
  • July 15; vs. Kalamazoo FC; 7 p.m.

Flint City AFC

Flint City AFC is only in its second season after a two-win inaugural campaign in 2022.

First-year Flint City AFC coach Michelle Krzisnik has made multiple roster changes from last year’s squad. The changes seem to be paying off. Flint’s eight points (three points for each of the two wins, one point for each of the two ties) leads the Great Lakes Division along with Kalamazoo FC.

“We’ve had a good start to the season,” said Krzisnik, “and we’ll just continue to get better.”

Flint City AFC home schedule

Flint City AFC plays their home contests at Atwood Stadium in downtown Flint. Remaining home games include:

  • May 26; vs. AFC Ann Arbor; 7 p.m.
  • June 2; vs. Midwest United FC; 7 p.m.
  • June 11; vs. Kalamazoo FC; 5 p.m.
  • June 23; vs. Cleveland FC; 7 p.m.
  • June 30; vs. Midwest United; 7  p.m.

USL2 Men’s League overview

The United States League Two (USL2) men’s league includes 113 teams in four conferences that are divided into 16 divisions.

The Flint City Bucks are positioned in the seven-team Great Lakes Division that also includes teams from Lansing, Ann Arbor, Oakland County, Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, and South Bend (IN).

USL2 describes itself as “the leader in pre-professional soccer in North America (providing) pre-professional players the opportunity to train and compete at the highest level while maintaining their collegiate eligibility.”

Flint City Bucks players (Photo source: Flint City Bucks | Amanda Thick)

The league is stocked with collegiate players; 66 percent of USL2 players attend Division 1 schools; 68 percent are domestic players. The average age of a USL2 footballer is 21.2 years.

The USL2 regular season takes place from May to mid-July. Each team plays a 14-match schedule against divisional opponents, seven at home and seven away.

Conference championship competition starts in late July. League championship matches occur in early August.

USL W Women’s League overview

The USL W is a pre-professional women’s soccer league that began play in May 2022.

Flint City AFC is one of six teams in the USL W’s Great Lakes Division that includes teams from Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Cleveland OH.  The 2023 USL W includes 59 teams spread over nine divisions.

EVM Sports Beat reporter Harold Ford can be reached at

Author: Tom Travis

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