After winning their 2015 National Premier Soccer League season opener Saturday night in a first-ever home game outside the City of Buffalo, elite amateur men's soccer club FC Buffalo looks forward to returning to its original North Buffalo home for the first time in two years. To the team, it's deeper than just playing soccer. It's part of their mission to be "For Our City."
FC Buffalo defeated the Cincinnati Stingers, 2-1, at Howe Field in Hamburg on Saturday night in a game that was hosted outside the city limits because of uncertainty over the team's regular home venue.
Earlier this month, the team learned they would be allowed to return to Robert Rich Sr. All-High Stadium for the first time since 2013. Because that permission came late, however, the team had scrambled to make alternate plans and booked Howe Field for the season opener.
Last year, because the Buffalo Board of Education had not yet decided on whether to permit use of All-High Stadium so close to the start of the 2014 season, FC Buffalo played their home games at Canisius College.
This year, school board member Jay McCarthy sponsored a proposal to let FC Buffalo move back to All-High Stadium, supported by fellow board member and former Buffalo Sabres executive Larry Quinn. The vote was delayed amidst continued hot debate over the search for a new superintendent for the school district. FC Buffalo officials then pursued alternate plans.
On May 8, the team announced the school board had given them the OK to move back to All-High Stadium, which includes a roof which hangs over the stands and provides shade for spectators on sunny days and protection from rain.
The team made history at this stadium. In 2011, the club hosted a lower-league English team sponsored by Buffalo's Bob Rich, Bedlington Terriers. Host FC Buffalo won the match. Then in 2013, FC Buffalo got their first-ever win against their most hated rivals, Erie Admirals, who had won every prior meeting. (Think of the Buffalo Bills finally beating the Miami Dolphins in 1980 after a 20-game slump throughout the 1970s... that's how special FC Buffalo's first win over Erie felt to their fans.)
FC Buffalo hosts Detroit City FC at their return to All-High Stadium on Saturday, May 23.