Grand Rapids Football Club closed, citing pandemic and financial challenges

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – The Grand Rapids soccer development team no longer exists.

Grand Rapids Football Club on Wednesday announced its disbandment after seven seasons, blaming the pandemic and “several other significant financial challenges.”

The club struggled when the 2020 season was called off and homeless, saying they faced “urgent decisions” after this summer’s season.

“It hurts, and I want all fans and supporters to know that we have worked tirelessly over the past few months on solutions and alternatives,” former player and general manager Joe Broekhuizen said in a statement posted on the CFRG website.

He thanked from the bottom of his heart all those who have supported the club, including its founders, life members, fans, players, coaches and families.

“The pandemic really hurt us because the big thing is that we lost Houseman Field with them being GRPS, even this summer they were very careful with the events that were going on there and different things of that nature, which is understandable, but we knew how to move forward if we were going to make it work, we needed marketable land, ”Broekhuizen said.

Former player Scott Doney holds the record for most club appearances and goals scored. He played four seasons from 2016 to 2019.

Originally from New Zealand, he felt at home in Grand Rapids with the hospitality of the club and the community.

“The memories there will last forever, that’s for sure. The friends I met there and gained along the way and the people at the club itself, the coaches, the owners, they all became great friends of mine too and helped me out along the way, ”Doney said.

Fans were known for their festive marches to the stadium, which have become an important club tradition.

Eric Albertson is the owner of SpeakEz Lounge, a popular hangout for football fans, and was a supporter of the team from the start. The bar was the title sponsor of the first season and the original scarf and jersey are proudly displayed on the wall.

“It’s sad to know it’s going to go away a bit, but I just refuse to believe it’s going to go away forever,” Albertson said. “It’s not a farewell to Grand Rapids football and I don’t think it’s a farewell to Grand Rapids Football Club. I think it’s going to come up in another form. He’s just waiting for someone to come and pick him up. .

The GRFC was launched in 2015 at Houseman Field, where Grand Rapids High School football teams play. A women’s club joined in 2016 and the ladies won the United Women’s Soccer League that season.

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