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Monday, September 09, 2019 2:28 pm

Soccer club to begin play in Fort Wayne in 2020

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne Football Club, an expansion team in the National Premier Soccer League, will begin play in May 2020, Fort Wayne mayor Tom Henry and a group of club owners announced today.

The newly formed Fort Wayne FC will compete in the Midwest Region of the NPSL, playing against teams in the Great Lakes Conference. The NPSL is at the fourth tier of the US Soccer pyramid. Fort Wayne FC's players will mostly be college and high-level high school players in their offseasons. The Great Lakes Conference also includes FC Indiana, a team based in Lafayette. 

FWFC will play its home games in May at Bishop Dwenger's new Shield Field and then will move to the Fort Wayne Sport Club in June when its less rainy and turf is no longer a necessity. 

"Historically, the city of Fort Wayne has embraced professional sports as a way to enhance not only our city's reputation as a sports-friendly community but also to try to recognize Fort Wayne as a point of destination," Henry said. "Professional sports has served us very well. ... Today we would like enter into a new era of sports offerings." 

To run the team, the ownership group tabbed Greg Mauch, coach of the Canterbury boys soccer team, as the club's general manager. Mauch is a member of the Indiana Soccer Hall of Fame and his team is the two-time defending state champions. 

Mauch said he has already been in contact with potential coaches for the team and hopes to make a decision on that front within 3-4 weeks. 

"I wanted to be able to use all the contacts I've developed over the years to help us bring in top-flight players to our community," Mauch said. "I think we're going to be able to do that. ... I think (this team) is going to be well-received. I think it'll be a fun thing to do, both in entertainment value and sports value. I think it'll be a great combination and assuming we can win some games we should have some fun for the fans." 

The team's front office includes Dr. Erik Magner, president of Meister Cook, as team president and co-owner. John Bellio, president of Coldwell Banker Roth Wehrly Gerber, is the club's vice president and is also a co-owner. 

There are plans to introduce a competitive women's team into the club's structure in 2022. 

dsinn@jg.net