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Despite not having an MLS side, southeast Michigan has earned a reputation as a soccer hotbed, with multiple minor league and semi-professional teams plying their trade in and around the Detroit metro area.

The region's passion for the sport is reflected in the local betting scene, where fans can place bets on their favorite teams and players, adding an extra layer of excitement to the soccer culture in southeast Michigan.

Many Michigan sports betting sites proudly feature the Michigan Stars in their listings, with many of their NISA games available to bet on.

In recent years, the Great Lakes State soccer scene has been dominated by a club that, ironically, got their start across the border in Windsor. Now, let’s take a look at Michigan Stars FC’s history, best players, and what the future holds for the up-and-coming club.

Founded in 1998, Michigan Stars FC were originally known by a different name, Windsor Spartans FC. Playing games in Canada, and Michigan, as well as training against clubs in Portugal, Greece, and Italy, the club found their home across the Detroit River for the better part of 15 years.

It wasn’t until 2012, drawn by the larger talent pool that the state had to offer, that the Spartans officially moved to Michigan, joining the NPSL for the 2013 season. Originally advertised as a club meant to develop young talent in the state, they finished a disappointing 2-2-8 in their only season under the Spartans name, although they did secure the signature of some impressive local standouts, including former Michigan star and Dearborn native Hamoody Saad.

In January 2014, the team was purchased by Dearborn Sports Enterprise, a move that coincided with their name change to Michigan Stars FC. Unfortunately, this move did little to improve the team's standings on the pitch, as the Stars failed to qualify for the NPSL playoffs a single time, finishing with a winning record only once over the next four seasons.

This was followed by a hiatus during the 2018 season, in which another ownership change took place, with the club this time being purchased by local Fraser, MI, businessman George Juncaj. Juncaj would oversee another league change, as the Michigan Stars moved from the NPSL to the National Independent Soccer Association,a new professional league in the third tier of American soccer, alongside their local rivals Detroit City F.C.

With the help of new general manager Chris McInally, Michigan Stars FC started to build out a formidable roster, including players with international soccer experience like Zimbabwean goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva and Liberian defender Joseph Aidoo.

The result? The club’s first-ever playoff appearance in the Fall 2020-21 season, followed two years later by the ultimate triumph.

With an ironclad defense led by Greek center-back Vasilios Zogos, who currently plays in the top division of Armenia, Michigan Stars FC finished 3rd in the league with a 10-8-5 record, qualifying them for the playoffs yet again. With wins over the Syracuse Pulse, Chattanooga FC, and Albion San Diego, Michigan Stars took home their first-ever championship, without allowing a single goal over their entire playoff run.

2023 was more of the same, with the club once again qualifying for the playoffs before narrowly losing in the final to Flower City Union of Rochester, New York.

For the 2024 campaign, Chris McInally moved from the GM position to Chief Operating Officer, taking over full control of the club’s day to day. Primed to mount a serious title challenge once again, the Michigan Stars have come a long way from their humble beginnings over 25 years ago across the border.

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