Mistakes cost Stars in loss to AFC Ann Arbor

By Shelly Watkins

June 2, 2017

“Football is a game of mistakes.  Whoever makes the fewest wins.” – Johan Cruyff

The Michigan Stars (MSFC) were reminded of the quote by the great Dutch footballer the hard way Friday evening as the Stars fell to AFC Ann Arbor (AFCAA) 5-0 in a match riddled with miscues on their home turf.

“At the end of the day, every time we made a mistake they made us pay the price,” said Michigan Stars Coach Morris Lupenec.  “We made five mistakes and they scored on all of them.  A good team will do that to you.”

Ann Arbor’s Kaleb Jackson struck first at 13 minutes into the match.  Capitalizing on a defensive miscommunication by the Stars, Jackson helped himself to a 20-yard breakaway and beat goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia on a shot to the lower left corner. 

At 29:00, Kyle Breitmeyer crushed a dipping line-drive over Mwembia after connecting on a cross from Sam Zisette.  The goal advanced the score to 2-0 in AFCAA’s favor and took the teams into the locker rooms at half. 

Ann Arbor’s goals and relentless pressure kept the Stars on their heels throughout the match; registering just one shot on goal in the first half and four in total.

“In addition to our mistakes, our overall effort was not great,” said Lupenec.  “Not all eleven guys were working hard as a unit together.  I’m confident that we will solve this by Sunday.”

AFCAA’s third goal was scored at 52:00 by Jimmy Fiskus.  Fiskus connected on corner kick originating from Yuri Guglielmi and headed over from Benjamin Thornton.  Alec Lasinski scored just moments after subbing in at 63:00 and James Vaughan hit a brilliant free kick at 71:00 to round out the scoring.

“Ann Arbor is a good team and are in first place for a reason,” said Lupenec.  “They are definitely the team to beat in our league.”

The Stars (1-2-2) travel to Lansing United (4-0-0) on Sunday, June 5 for a 2:00 p.m. kickoff.

Click HERE for more Photos from the game. 

Photos courtesy JDN2 Photography. 

Stars, McWoods shine in 8-2 victory over FC Indiana

Michigan Stars defeat FC Indiana 8 - 2.                                               -Michigan Stars Staff Photo

Michigan Stars defeat FC Indiana 8 - 2.                                               -Michigan Stars Staff Photo

By Shelly Watkins

May 21, 2017

Forward Eric McWoods scored three goals and provided two assists in the Michigan Stars FC (MSFC) 8-2 victory over FC Indiana Sunday afternoon.  MSFC earned their first win and remain undefeated at 1-0-2.

McWoods scored at 42:00, 58:00 and 60:00 with assists from Naeem Charles, Jacob Bevan and Wilfred Williams, respectively.

“Eric is one of those forwards in our league that will score a lot of goals,” said Coach Morris Lupenec.  “He has a fantastic work ethic and works hard to get into those scoring positions.  When he’s not scoring, he’s creating opportunities for the other guys.  Today was a good day for Eric in doing both.”

FC Indiana scored first in the contest as a result of a misplay by the Stars defense 22 minutes into the match.  The goal against jump-started the team as forward Nebojsa Popovic scored twice in the next ten minutes on assists by McWoods and Kyle Thomson.

“The team responded very well after Indiana scored,” said Lupenec.  “We were dictating the match; we had a good rhythm.”

With a 3-1 lead going into the second half, MSFC continued to press as Alan Shaw added two more to the tally, both assisted by Thompson at 50:00 and 77:00.  Bevan rounded out the Stars attack on an assist from McWoods just before the whistle blew at 89:00.

Johann Bittner and Anthony Madonbe scored for FC Indiana

McWoods was named Man of the Match.

Prior to the Memorial Day break, the Stars travel across the state to meet Grand Rapids FC on Friday, May 26 for a 7:30pm kickoff. 


Michigan Stars and Grand Rapids FC split points

The Michigan Stars FC battled to a 1-1 draw with Grand Rapids FC. (JDN2 Photography image).

The Michigan Stars FC battled to a 1-1 draw with Grand Rapids FC. (JDN2 Photography image).

By Shelly Watkins

The Michigan Stars FC and Grand Rapids FC battled to a 1-1 draw at Hurley Field in Berkley Friday Night.  The Stars split the points with last year’s Great Lakes Western Conference champions, their second draw in the young season.

“One thing I definitely know is that it’s hard to get points in this league,” said Coach Morris Lupenec.  “There won’t be an easy game for us, but you’re not going to win the league or be in the top-shelf of the league if you keep tying games.”

Tied 0-0 after a back-and-forth 45 minutes, the Stars struck first with a goal four minutes into the second half.  Forward Nebojsa Popovic flicked the ball past a defender and beat Grand Rapids goalkeeper Noah Fazekas to take the lead.  Defender Jamie Carey-Morrell assisted on the goal.

Grand Rapids levelled the score 1-1 at 76:00 on a goal from midfielder Jacob Love on a pass from Greg Timmer.

You always go into games looking for three points and we got the goal we needed in the second half,” said Lupenec.  “In the next 15 minutes we had a couple of chances to put the game away but they were a tough team.”

Forward Elliott Collier provided the Star’s best chance in the first half after a 30-yard solo drive, beating several opponents before shooting just wide of the goal.  Minutes later, Collier combined with forward Eric McWoods on a give-and-go that resulted in another shot wide.

On the defensive end, Stars goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia redeemed himself after committing a hand ball for crossing the goal box just after halftime.  On a tough direct free kick by Kosti Moni that penetrated the Stars wall, Mwembia came up with a big save and adding momentum to the match.

“It’s all about getting better,” said Lupenec.  “I think we were better today than we were last game and we played a quality opponent in last year’s champs.  The boys played well; they gave a good effort.” 

Grand Rapids outshot the Stars 11-6.  Mwembia had five saves on the day while Fazekas provided three.

The Michigan Stars Man of the Match was awarded to midfielder Kyle Thompson.

The Stars (0-0-2) take the show on the road Sunday as they travel to Lafayette, IN, to take on Indiana FC. 

More images HERE

Michigan Stars draw 2-2 with Detroit City FC in season opener


By Shelly Watkins

Cristian Dragoi was named the Michigan Stars Man of the Match

Cristian Dragoi was named the Michigan Stars Man of the Match

Two second half goals and a PK stop lifted the Michigan Stars to a 2-2 draw against Detroit City FC on Sunday afternoon.  The Stars played host to City and their lively supporters on a beautiful Mother’s Day afternoon in Berkley in this season’s opening match.

Detroit City struck first, just three minutes into the game, on a goal by midfield Captain David Edwardson, with the assist from Cyrus Saydee. 

The slow start did not surprise Stars head coach, Morris Lupenec. 

“We started today with new staff, new players, and three minutes in they get a goal,” said Lupenec.  “We were on our heels right away.  We’re young and we haven’t played much together, but we were stressing to the guys, ‘just don’t quit’.”

Twenty-five minutes later Adam Spinks beat Stars’ goalkeeper Anthony Mwembia on a 20-yard bomb to the upper left corner of the goal.

Trailing DCFC 2-0 at halftime, substitute Elliot Collier’s spark immediately impacted the offense by providing a perfect cross-field pass to Austin Ricci who beat DCFC keeper Colin Miller at 59:00. 

“Elliot was brilliant for us,” said Lupenec.  “He added a lot of energy and it was something we really needed.  We were lacking that in certain moments but he really stepped up for us.”

Mwembia also stepped up in the second half for the Stars.

With five minutes remaining in the 2-1 match, Detroit City was awarded a PK on a Stars’ hand ball in the box.  Mwembia made a diving save on Saydee’s shot to the corner, singlehandedly firing up his teammates and silencing the DCFC drums for the moment.

With momentum swinging the Stars way, midfielder Kyle Thompson first stung the crossbar with a header at 88:00 then scored the equalizer at the 90-minute mark on a sweet cross from Nebojsa Popovic.

At the end of the day, both teams shared the points.

Cristian Dragoi was named Man of the Match by his coaches for his midfield tenacity throughout the 90 minutes.  

The Michigan Stars (0-0-1) host Grand Rapids FC next Friday, May 19 at 7:00 p.m. at Hurley Field, Berkley.

Michigan Stars FC 2017 Schedule Begins At Home


Stars Host Detroit City FC on Home Opener May 14th

The Michigan Stars FC are excited to announce their 2017 home schedule at Hurley Field in Berkley, Michigan. The home opener will be on Sunday, May 14th at 4pm against Detroit City FC (DCFC). 

The 2017 season picks up where it left off last year against Detroit City FC when the Stars played at Detroit’s Keyworth stadium and won 2-1. This time Michigan Stars FC will welcome DCFC and the Northern Guard to Hurley field when they meet on May 14th. 

The full Michigan Stars FC 2017 Home Schedule at Hurley Field is as follows:


Sunday 5/14 at 4pm v Detroit City FC

Friday 5/19 at 7pm v Grand Rapids FC

Friday 6/2 at 7pm v AFC Ann Arbor

Sunday 6/11 at 4pm v Milwaukee Torrent

Friday 6/16 at 7pm v Kalamazoo FC

Friday 7/7 at 7pm v Lansing United

Friday 7/14 at 7pm v FC Indiana



Single tickets will go on sale this Friday, February 10th at www.MichiganStarsFC.com

$10 Adults At Gate

$8 Youth At Gate

$8 Adults Advance Online

$6 Youth Advance Online



The Stars are also excited to be a part of the 2017 Michigan Milk Cup, brought together by their sponsor United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM), along with Lansing United, AFC Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo FC and Grand Rapids FC.  The teams will use their 4 home and away games to secure their title as Michigan’s top club.

Conference and Playoffs Information

The Stars will compete in the Great Lakes West conference again this year with includes Detroit City FC, Lansing United, AFC Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo FC, Grand Rapids FC, Milwaukee Torrent and FC Indiana. 

The conference is a part of the the 2017 NPSL Midwest Region will include 22 teams grouped in three conferences:  East, Great Lakes, and North.  At the end of the regular season the top two teams in each conference, a total of six teams, will qualify for the Midwest Region playoffs.  

There will be three conference winners and the top two will be determined with seeds #1 and #2 getting a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

The other teams participating in the playoffs will compete as shown in the breakdown below with the seeding being determined by calculating the average points per game among the second place finishers in each conference. 


Playoff Games 1 and 2 will be hosted by seeds #3 and #4 respectively on Saturday, July 22.  The lowest-seeded winner will advance to play the #1 seed in Game 3 and the highest-seeded winner will advance to play the #2 seed in Game 4.  Games 3 and 4 will be played on Friday, July 28.  The winners of Games 3 and 4 will play in Game 5 on Saturday, July 29, or Sunday, July 30, in case of a weather delay. 

The host of the Midwest Region Final Four will be determined by a Midwest Region vote of the member clubs. The opportunity to host is open to any of the teams that qualify for the Regional Semifinal.  Prior to the final game of the season, each team who qualifies for the playoffs and is interested in hosting, shall submit proposals to host the Midwest playoff weekend. By Wednesday, July 19th the region will vote on the bids and rank them.  At the conclusion of the Qualifying Round, the highest ranked bid of the four remaining teams will be named as the host.

About NPSL

The National Premier Soccer League is a 4th tier semi-pro national soccer league with four regions spread across the country. The Midwest Region hosts 3 conferences including the Great Lakes, which includes six Michigan clubs. Last season, newcomers Grand Rapids FC and AFC Ann Arbor advanced to the Midwest Region playoffs where both teams were eliminated by soon to be national champions, AFC Cleveland. The 2017 season will run from early May until late July with the NPSL playoffs taking place at the end of the season (late July/early August). For more information on the league visit NPSL.com.


About UDIM

The United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) is the umbrella organization for the Dairy Council of Michigan and the American Dairy Association of Michigan.

We believe milk is a natural beverage that delivers nutrition, health, and true local flavor. We are dedicated to being your credible source for information about dairy foods and Michigan dairy farming by providing science-based nutrition information to foster a healthier society. 

Our dairy farm families proudly produce milk in their communities using state-of-the-art practices to ensure it is wholesome and fresh. We are committed to raising awareness of the benefits of consuming dairy products among generations of Michigan residents. We accomplish this by working with health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and the media. For more information visit the Milk Means More website here.

To keep up on all of the breaking news and updates, go to www.MichiganStarsFC.com or follow us on Twitter @MichiganStarsFC , Facebook Michigan Stars FC and Instagram Michigan Stars FC



Motor City FC and Michigan Stars FC Will Play 2017 Season At Hurley Field

Hurley Field in Berkley Michigan is now the home to two semi-professional soccer teams with the Women’s Premier Soccer League Motor City FC (MCFC) team and the National Premier Soccer League Michigan Stars FC (MSFC) team.

Michigan Sports Foundation’s Chairman/Owner Ned Fawaz is “excited to bring his teams together at Hurley Field and knows we will be able to provide superb entertainment as well as become a solid foundation for the community.”

The seasons will begin in May 2017 and run until the end of July with the hopes of playoffs at that time.  Both teams just missed out on playoffs in the 2016 season with MCFC coming in second and MSFC in third place in their conferences.  

Berkley’s City motto is “We Care” and our organization is excited to become a part of that mindset with being a part of the Chamber of Commerce and many of the events and activities all around the city this year and in the future.  We will help in providing fundraising for groups, businesses and schools in the area as well as being another exciting option for families and fans to have a place to go for a weekend match or two. 

“Hurley serves as an excellent venue for the soccer community. We will have the only game in metro Detroit where families can come out on the weekend and watch both women’s and men’s top caliber soccer,” Stated President Shereef Akeel.

Motor City FC’s Head Coach Aaron Byrd is looking forward to the addition of the men’s team to Hurley, “Berkley was a fantastic venue for the women last year. It’s such a great city and close to a lot of local soccer talent.  We are excited to be back there and to bring the men’s team along with us this time. Bringing high level men’s and women’s soccer to Berkley should provide an amazing summer for the teams, the fans, and the community.”

Michigan Stars FC Head Coach Morris Lupenec explained, “Look at the landscape of soccer today around the country, it’s the fastest growing sport and for soccer fans in Michigan, having two teams at Hurley provides kids and fans with a great opportunity to come out and watch the beautiful game. They can see that there can be a progression from college to another higher tier of soccer in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) and Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). It is easier to understand the stepping stones it takes to get to the dream of playing pro when you can watch the semi-professional level right in your own community.”

Special thanks to Berkley Mayor Dr. Phil O’Dwyer, Councilmember Jack Blanchard, Chamber of Commerce Executive Direct Darlene Rothman, Events and Operations Manager RoseAnn Nicolai, CAE, Hurley Stadium Manager Bruce Hill and everyone else in the community for their help and participation in today’s announcement and official kickoff to Berkley’s Summer of Soccer with Michigan Stars FC and Motor City FC!

Season Tickets

Season Tickets Are Now On Sale!

Purchase can be made online at both team’s websites below. The cost will be $70 for a season ticket along with a scarf, $50 for a youth season ticket or a SPECIAL DUAL SEASON TICKET of $100 which gains access to both MCFC and MSFC home games along with a scarf for both teams!

Player announcements and schedules will begin to be released shortly.

For further information on Motor City FC, please go to www.motorcityfootball.club or follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/MotorCFC Facebook www.facebook.com/motorcityfc/ or Instagram at Motor City FC.

For information on Michigan Stars FC, go to www.MichiganStarsFC.com or follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/MichiganStarsFC  , Facebook www.facebook.com/michiganstarsfc/ and Instagram MichiganStarsFootballClub

Wagstaff Resigns As Michigan Stars FC’s Head Coach

Stellar Year Brings Reluctant Resignation Due To Other Commitments

Michigan Stars FC will start the 2017 season revamping their coaching staff due to the departure of their head coach. 

Last year, in Coach Andy Wagstaff’s first year at helm, the 2016 Nationals Premier Soccer League season found the Stars in good standing within the Great Lakes West Conference in which they finished just shy of getting into the playoffs. 

The season began with three straight ties and the Stars making their presence known in every single match they were in that year not to mention a few stand out games including the 2-1 win at AFC Ann Arbor midway through the season and the impressive 2-1 win in the last game at Detroit City FC.

Preparation for the 2017 season began as scheduled with the idea of Wagstaff at helm, however, after a long deliberation, Wagstaff knew that something needed to give in his schedule and the newest role was the one that needed to change.

Andy Wagstaff is the travel youth soccer club Liverpool FC Michigan owner as well as the Saginaw Valley State University men’s head coach and a US Soccer Scout.  Despite making it all work last year with honorable and competitive style, the other roles need to take precedence this year which will benefit many in the state under his direction.

“In the 2016 NPSL season as head coach of the Michigan Stars I had a fantastic experience. Initially when approached to coach the team by Shereef Akeel I was very flattered and accepted the position, even though I knew that being able to Coach the Stars as well as operate in all of my other roles would be a challenge.” stated Wagstaff.

Coach continued saying that “The Michigan Stars understood the numerous responsibilities I had but still took a chance on me. I feel like I repaid them for their faith in me as their head coach last year by helping the team finish in 3rd place missing out on the play offs by only a point. I was looking forward to helping the team get into the play offs this year and make a run at a national title, but I just felt overwhelmed between my other commitments at Liverpool FC IA Michigan and Saginaw Valley and felt it was time for me to focus my attention fully onto those two programs. Therefore, I have reluctantly decided to resign from the role as head coach.  The Stars board led by Club owner Dr. Ned Fawez, President Shereef Akeel and GM Chris Corteg treated professionalism and with the utmost class and integrity throughout my time as HC. I cannot thank them enough for their faith and confidence in me and will always be available to provide them with any consultancy or advice on any soccer matter as they move forward. I also want to thank the players from last year who made it so enjoyable, my assistant Coach Paul Doroh, and my other staff members Kelly Haapala and Jenna Taylor for doing such an outstanding job of helping me be prepared and ready for each game.”

“I eagerly await the upcoming season and am excited to see how the team progresses.”

The Stars are grateful to Wagstaff in helping the program excel last year and in creating this solid foundation in which the new head coach can build upon.

“Andy is a phenomenal professional and an excellent coach. We regret partying ways but we understand that because of his success and roles within the soccer community that his time commitment was very limited.” Stated Stars President, Shereef Akeel.

More announcements on the Michigan Stars FC 2017 NPSL season are to follow shortly. To keep up on all of the breaking news and updates, go to www.MichiganStarsFC.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.