The silver lining: Oakland’s club football team to begin its historic first season

Oakland has been without a football team ever since it was founded in 1957. Most people assume that Matilda Dodge Wilson put a clause in the charter stating that contact sports were not allowed at Oakland.

However, the Football Club president, David Brosky, and the faculty adviser, Nic Bongers “dug a little bit deeper to discover that the ‘Myth of Matilda Wilson’ was indeed, false” Bongers said.

Getting it Started

“I really had the desire to play football at the next level” Brosky said. So much so that he began to search for a league to play in and thought, “Why can’t Oakland have a club football team?”

Brosky then contacted Dan Bettman, the head of the Club Sports Department at OU, and learned that he could present his case to the Club Sports Advisory Council after generating a significant community interest.

In October of 2012, Brosky and Bongers presented their case and it was unanimously voted to be a club sport.

Preparing for the Season

“Football is a passion, it’s something that these guys want to play” head coach, Al Manfroni said.

Beginning as an assistant coach at Kent State University, Manfroni has been coaching football for a grand total of 32 years.

“I’m just a teacher” Manfroni said. “The team is a great group of young men. They’re eager, they want to learn, and when you have that kind of mentality you can achieve anything.”

Being Oakland’s first football team, Manfroni, Brosky and Bongers understand that there is a lot of pressure on them to represent Oakland’s football community in a positive light.

“We come together for the love of the game and bust it every day at practice because we want to win” Brosky said. “We want to make our mark as the first football team in Oakland’s history, and we want to start it off right.”

Manfroni and Brad Boven, the team’s offensive coordinator, both believe that it’s the player’s responsibility to make their education a priority.

“We want our student-athletes to strive for perfection and understand the commitment, sacrifice, team work, determination and attitude it takes to be successful in the classroom, the football field and in life as well” Boven said.

One can only speculate as to what will happen this season for the team. Bongers, Brosky and Manfroni are solely focusing on this year and taking the season one game at a time.

Looking to the future, and the possibility of eventually forming a varsity-level football program, the difficulties are “astronomical” Bongers said, “but the silver lining in all of it is that we have football now.”

The Oakland Football Club has an inter-squad scrimmage at the Auburn Hills Civic Center Park Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. Their season begins when they play UM Flint Sept. 21 at Atwood Field in Flint, MI at 4 p.m.

For more information on the season’s schedule and the team’s roster visit Students who are interested in joining the club can contact [email protected]