The question was why no one had done it already.

So says Jamey Amrine, one of seven owners of AFC Ann Arbor, a new minor league soccer team that plays its first game on May 1 (see Events). An Ohio-born engineer who’s lived in Ann Arbor since 2002, Amrine points to 1,900 K-8 kids playing rec soccer, three youth travel teams, and flourishing high school and college teams as evidence that Ann Arbor is a hotbed of soccer–and then throws in the fact that when Real Madrid and Manchester United met at the Big House last summer, they set a record for attendance at a U.S. soccer game.

Co-owner Michal Lorenc, who heads Google’s ticketing and live events business, adds that Major League Soccer is the only American pro sports league that is still expanding and points to recent TV network deals to broadcast European games as evidence of a period of hyper-growth for the sport in this country. And both Amrine and Lorenc say they want to make AFC Ann Arbor’s home games at Pioneer High’s Hollway Field more than just soccer matches–they envision fun family events with music and food trucks. With tickets $10 or less, Amrine adds, it will be affordable too.

The club’s roster features thirty players, half of whom have strong Ann Arbor ties. Player and co-owner Knox Cameron played collegiately for U-M before joining the Columbus Crew in MLS.

The team will play in the newly formed Great Lakes Premier League. Amrine’s original plan was to join the National Premier Soccer League, but with three Michigan teams (Detroit City FC, Lansing United, and Michigan Stars FC from Pontiac) already in the NPSL, the league denied his application. Two other in-state hopefuls, Grand Rapids FC and Oakland United, met with the same fate, so the three teams banded together and brought in a couple of storied franchises–America’s oldest soccer club, the Croatian Eagles from Milwaukee, and RWB Adria from Chicago, winner of the 2014 Amateur Cup–to form the new league. According to Amrine, the league plans to expand to ten teams in 2016 and to at least twelve the following third year.

In addition to home and away matches with the four other league members, AFC Ann Arbor will host San Marino (from Troy) and Michigan Sporting (Dearborn) and travel to AFC Cleveland of the NPSL. The club will also play home and away series with the independent Muskegon Risers (a potential future league opponent), and Lansing United of the NPSL.

Amrine says Lansing United owner Jeremy Sampson helped him start the Ann Arbor club. He hopes to form a rivalry with this northern neighbor–which should be easy, since it plays its home games in East Lansing.