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Dutch Lions FC Dutch Lions FC

Gateway to Professional Soccer

history DLFC

est. 2009

in October 2009 Dutch Lions Capital Group B.V. was founded by Mike Mossel, Erik Tammer and Peter van der Molen. Besides two investment companies – one in the Netherlands, one in the USA – they also founded Dayton Dutch Lions FC LLC and purchased a license to play professional soccer in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) in Dayton (Ohio). Eight more clubs were added since then. There are currently nine Dutch Lions FC clubs in the USA: Dayton Dutch Lions FC (2009), Houston Dutch Lions FC (2011), Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC (2013), Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions FC (2015), New York Dutch Lions FC (2016), Miami Dutch Lions FC (2019), Chicago Dutch Lions FC (2020), SoCal Dutch Lions FC (2021) and Washington Dutch Lions FC (2021). Dutch Lions FC was also co-founder and initial minority owner of MLS club FC Cincinnati. Since the start, more than 75 investors have joined one or more Dutch Lions FC organizations.


Clubs

 

Dayton Dutch Lions FC was founded in 2009 and currently has a men’s team and a women’s team. The men’s team plays in the USL League Two (USL2), which is the highest amateur division in the US Soccer and considered the 4th division. The men’s team began to play in 2010 in the USL PDL (now called USL2). The club also added a women’s team in 2011 that played in the W-League of the USL. After the W-league folded, the team started playing in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL), which is considered the 2nd division in US Soccer. The men’s team started in USL PDL as one of the few teams with a professional status (USL PDL PRO), and was awarded the “USL Progress of the Year Award”, averaging 1,200 fans per home game. The season opener in 2010 vs Global United, a team of former World Cup stars, had 3,400 fans attending in Bellbrook High School Stadium. The club was asked to join USL PRO (2nd division, now called USL Championship) in their second year, where they played for four years before returning to USL PDL in 2015. Highlights were making the playoffs in 2013 after a winning record, and qualifying for the final eight in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in 2012 after beating Chicago Fire (USL PDL), Columbus Crew (MLS) and Michigan Bucks (USL PDL) on the road. In the quarterfinal the team travelled to Kansas where they played eventual champions Sporting Kansas City of MLS in front of 17,000 fans. Another highlight was an exhibition game vs England’s FC Cup winners Wigan Athletic in from to 2,000 fans. The club also had a formal partnership with Columbus Crew with Head Coach Greg Berhalter. Ben Sweat was one of the players from the Crew that played for DDL FC, he later payed two games in the US National Team. In 2018, the team won the USL2 Conference Championship. The women’s team was successful with two Conference Championships and also being awarded “USL Organization of the Year Award” in 2013. Several players (Claire Falknor, Emilie Fillion, Brittany Persaud, Alex Warren) of the team went overseas to play professionally in Europe (the Netherlands and Germany) and Rose Lavelle, who played two years for Dayton Dutch Lions FC, won the World Cup with the USWNT in 2018, as well as the Bronze Ball. In June 2024 she reached 100 caps for the USNWT. In 2014, the club opened the renovated West Carrollton High School stadium, financing an artificial turf field and press box in the stadium, as part of a 30 year partnership. Since then the stadium is called DOC Stadium. Two times FIFA Best Player of the World Ruud Gullit opened the game vs LA Galaxies II, with close to 2,000 fans in attendance. The club also had a prestigious Youth Academy since 2010 with over 350 kids, but terminated that program in 2018.



Houston Dutch Lions FC was founded in 2011 and has a prestigious Youth Academy. They also had a men’s team that started in 2011 that initially played in the USL PDL, but transferred to the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL, considered 4th division in US Soccer – same as USL League Two) in 2016. The team won the NPSL Conference Championship in 2016 and made it to the NPSL Final Four, playing Chattanooga in front of 7,000 fans. In 2017 they made it to the third round of the US Open Cup and had a close 1-2 loss vs San Antonio (USL PRO). The club built a state of the art soccer complex – called Houston Dutch Lions FC Soccer Complex – including two artificial turf fields, a clubhouse, locker rooms and a restaurant. In 2022, they installed a complete new lighting installation at their complex.


 

Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC was founded in 2013 and had a men’s team that played in the USL2 from 2014 to 2020. The opening game at Xavier University had 650 fans in attendance with Ruud Gullit performing the kick-off together with Cincinnati Bengals kicker Kevin Huber. The first two years the team qualified for the playoffs. Since 2017 they played their home games at NKU University in Kentucky. In 2017 they also opened a sportsbar in Covington (KY) called “House of Orange” with a view of downtown Cincinnati. Former right-back Kyle Smith currently still plays in the MLS for Orlando City. The club did not play since covid-19, but is scheduled to play again in 2025. 


 

Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions FC was founded in 2015 and has a women’s team that competes in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL). The club started with a Youth Academy and added a men’s team in 2016 only playing exhibition games. In 2017 a women’s team was added. The opening game in 2017 had close to 850 fans in attendance, a record crowd in the Conference. In 2018, the team won the WPSL Sunshine Conference Championship. The women’s team has an official partnership with Dutch Premier League club ADO Den Haag. Two players – Monique Elliot (2017) and Emelie Liljered (2020) – have gone on trial with them. In 2020 the club stopped their Youth Academy program in Cape Coral that had over 225 kids. After the 2022 season, Joy Kersten signed a pro contract with Genk in Belgium, Caroliena Wolters signed a pro contract with Fortuna Sittard and Telstar in the Netherlands, while 2021 player Kelley Giddes signed a pro contract in Albania. The club plays their home games at Paradise Coast Sports Complex in Naples.


 

New York Dutch Lions FC was founded in 2016. In their initial year the club focused on a Training Academy and School Clinics. In 2017, they started organizing exhibition games in New York with former Dutch National Team players. In 2017 the team, led by coaches Wim Rijsbergen (Ajax, played in two World Cup Finals with the Dutch National Team – 1974 and 1978) and John de Wolf (Feyenoord), played vs New York Cosmos B at MCU Park as part of a double header with New York Cosmos’ first team, and vs Central Park Soccer, a team of Dutch expats, at Pier 5 in Brooklyn. In 2018, the team was led by Head Coach Gerard van der Lem (Ajax, Barcelona) and played vs New York Red Bulls U23 and (again) vs Central Park Soccer at Frank Sinatra Park in New Jersey. In 2019, the team was led by coaches John Rep (Ajax, played in two World Cup Finals with the Dutch National Team – 1974 and 1978) and Foppe de Haan (Heerenveen, Dutch National Team U21) and played (again) vs Central Park Soccer at Frank Sinatra Park. The project was canceled in 2020-22 due to covid-19, but should return in the coming years. In 2021, the club added a women’s team that joined the WPSL in the 2022 season. The club plays their home games at Long Island University (LIU) in Brooklyn.


 

Miami Dutch Lions FC was founded in 2019. The club has a men’s team that plays in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). The club is led by Director of Soccer Operations Hans van de Haar. In 2021, after the 2020 season was canceled due to covid restrictions, the team finished 2nd in the Sunshine Conference after being on top of the league the whole season. They qualified for the play-offs, but were eliminated in round one. In 2024 they also qualified for the Conference play-offs, but lost in the first round vs Jacksonville Armada. The club plays their home games at Monsignor Edward Pace Stadium in Miami Gardens.


 

SoCal Dutch Lions FC was originally founded in 2020 as Oceanside Dutch Lions FC. In 2022 the club changed their name to SoCal Dutch Lions FC to have a more regional approach. The club has a women’s team that plays in the WPSL. In their 2021 inaugural season, the team finished 3rd in their Conference but received the WPSL “Best Franchise of the Year” Award. After their first season, Genesis Castrellon signed a pro contract in Austria. After the 2022 season, Head Coach Patchy Toledo signed a contract with US Soccer to become the Head Coach of the USYNT U16 women’s team. The club plays their home games at La Costa Canyon High School Stadium in Carlsbad.


 

Chicago Dutch Lions FC was also founded in 2020. The club started with a women’s team that played in the WPSL. In their 2021 inaugural season, the team finished 2nd in a strong Conference with powerhouse Chicago Red Stars Reserves. The club was awarded the WPSL “Best Franchise of the Year” Award, while Nikhil Erlebach received “Best Coach of the Year” Award. In 2022, the club joined the USL with both a men’s team competing in USL League Two, and a women’s team in USL W league (2nd division). After the 2022 season, goalkeeper Bob van der Hoek signed a pro contract with Dutch Premier League club Fortuna Sittard. In the 2023 season, the women’s team finished third after winning their last six games. One of the highlights of the season was playing a game at Minnesota Vikings in front of over 6,000 fans. The club plays their home games at Aurora University in Aurora.


 

Washington Dutch Lions FC was founded in 2021. The club has a women’s team that plays in the WPSL. In their 2021 inaugural season, the team won the WPSL Conference Championship after a thrilling 0-1 win vs #2 SJEB FC in the final game of the season. After the 2021 season, Dakota Chan went on trial with Dutch Premier League club ADO Den Haag. She played professionally in Portugal in the 2023-24 season. The club plays their home games at RFK Academy Campus in Washington.



Dutch Lions FC was also co-founder and initial minority owner of FC Cincinnati. The club was founded in 2015 and started playing in USL PRO in 2016. The first home game was played in April 2016 with 14,658 fans in attendance. That same season the team drew 35,061 fans in an exhibition game vs Crystal Palace. In 2017 the team averaged 21,696 fans per home game, including 33,250 vs New York Red Bulls of MLS in a thrilling US Open Cup game in the semi-final. The season also included a historic penalty shootout win vs Chicago Fire of MLS in front of 32,287 fans. In 2018, the club surpassed 17,000 season tickets and averaged 25,000 fans per home game. After the attendance records and completing an innovative plan to build a new, state-of-the-art soccer stadium, Cincinnati was awarded a Major League Soccer expansion team on May 29, 2018 by MLS Commissioner Don Garber. In 2019 the team averaged 28,500 fans per home game. The new stadium opened in March 2021. In the 2023 season, the team won the MLS Eastern Conference Championship. 



Background information

Erik Tammer is a former professional player for Premier League clubs such as AFC Ajax, SC Heerenveen and Sparta Rotterdam. He is currently scout for AFC Ajax.


Mike Mossel played for 2nd division clubs RBC Roosendaal (the Netherlands), KFC Turnhout (Belgium) and Cincinnati Riverhawks (USA), and graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati (Ohio). Mike is currently the European Scout for FC Cincinnati (MLS) and since 2017 also “Red Talent Trainer” at Royal Antwerp FC (PL) in Belgium.


Both Erik and Mike attended the KNVB UEFA C and UEFA B Pro (for former professional players) coaching courses together.


Founders Mike Mossel & Erik Tammer