Sports Beat: Flint City Bucks – men and women – undefeated, in first place at midseason

By Harold C. Ford

An unprecedented winning season is unfolding for the Flint City Bucks franchise and its two entries in the United States League (USL): the Flint City Bucks (men’s entry in USL2 or United States League Two) and Flint City AFC (women’s entry in USL W or United States League Women).

Midway through the 2023 season both the men and the women are undefeated and in first place in the Great Lakes Divisions of their respective leagues.

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Flint City Bucks (Men’s team)

The Flint City Bucks have five wins, one draw, and no losses as of June 18, 2023. Their 16 points put them in first place by four points over the Midwest United Football Club from Grand Rapids.

USL2 Great Lakes Division; standings as of 6-18-23:

Team                                             Wins    Draws  Losses Points

  1. Flint City Bucks                    5          1          0          16
  2. Midwest United FC              3          3          3          12
  3. AFC Ann Arbor                     3          1          2          10
  4. Oakland County FC             2          3          2          9
  5. Lansing City Football          2          3          2          9
  6. Kalamazoo FC                      2          1          3          7
  7. South Bend (IN) Lions FC 0          2          5          2

[3 points for a win; 1 point for a draw; zero points for a loss]

[FC is football club]

USL2 Great Lakes Division

The Flint City Bucks are positioned in the seven-team USL2 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.”

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.

Bucks’ Doroh in first year as head coach

The Bucks are piloted by first-year head coach Paul Doroh who took over from Andy Wagstaff. Wagstaff 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 credit: Liverpool Football Club International Academy

Bucks’ stats and stars

As of June 15, the Bucks were ranked third in the “power rankings” of 113 USL2 teams. According to the USL2 post, “Flint City is still spotless thanks to a magnificent defensive record.”

Josemir Gomez leads the Bucks with five goals.

Flint City Bucks player Josemir Gomez. (Photo source: FCB website)

In a June 1 USL2 post, Bucks’ forward Palmer Ault was named a “top performer”: “Ault is the youngest player on this list (of 10 players), and for good reason. His strength belies his age, and he’s fluid on the dribble, with a good understanding of space…”

Flint City Bucks home schedule, remainder of season

  • 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.

Bucks’ proud history

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.

 Flint City AFC (women’s team)

Flint City AFC has tallied seven wins, three draws, and no losses as of June 18, 2023. Their 24 points outpaces second-place Midwest United Football Club by ten points.

USL W Great Lakes Division; standings as of 6-18-23:

Team                                             Wins    Draws  Losses Points

  1. Flint City AFC                    7              3            0          24
  2. Midwest United FC          4              2            3          14
  3. Kalamazoo FC                   3              4            3          13
  4. Detroit City FC                  3              3            4          12
  5. AFC Ann Arbor                 3              2            3          11
  6. Cleveland (OH) Force      1              0            8          3

[3 points for a win; 1 point for a draw; zero points for a loss]

[FC is football club]

Second season for AFC, first for new coach

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, apparently, are paying off.

Krzisnik is assisted by Doug Landefeld, Adil Salmoni, Shannon Browning, and Dennis Darnoi.

Michelle Krzisnik (Photo submitted by Flint City Bucks)


The USL W is a pre-professional women’s soccer league that began play in May 2022. Currently, the league includes 65 teams in ten divisions. South Georgia Tormenta FC is the defending league champion.

AFC is the first USL W team to clinch a playoff spot this season; playoffs will begin after the conclusion of regular season play.  Eight clubs will advance to the playoffs from seven divisional winners and one wild card bid.

AFC stats and stars

As of June 13, AFC was ranked seventh in the “power rankings” in the 65-team USL W.

According to the USL website post, “Flint City currently sits atop the Great Lakes Division with an unbeaten record … Samantha Woods currently leads the club in goals with seven.”

AFC midfielder Isabella Gaetino was named to the USL W’s “team of the month” in May. “The UNC Tarheel commit has started every match for Flint City,” according to the USL W post, “(and) Gaetino’s long-range strike from the top of the box was voted the first Goal of the Week this season.”

Samantha Woods is the top scorer for AFC with seven goals. As of June 12, Gaetino has notched five goals; Jenna Blackburn has added three; Reese Slater and Olivia Thomas have each kicked two goals into the opponents’ net.

Samantha Woods (Photo source Top Drawer Soccer)

Flint City AFC home schedule, remainder of

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

  • June 23; vs. Cleveland FC;  7 p.m.
  • June 30; vs. Midwest United; 7 p.m.

EVM Sports Beat reporter Harold C. Ford can be reached at

Author: Tom Travis

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