When the Cleveland City Stars folded in 2009, a void was left in the Cleveland soccer community. AFC Cleveland was established in an effort to fill this void. Founded on five principles – passion, pride, unity, integrity, and excellence – AFC Cleveland’s initials stand for “A Fans’ Club”, a nod to the club’s desire to create an organization for soccer fans by soccer fans.
AFC Cleveland officially joined the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) in 2011, a league in the fourth division of the American soccer pyramid. Since joining the NPSL, AFC Cleveland has gone on to achieve success. The Royals, as the team is known to fans, won the Great Lakes Conference, the Rust Belt Derby, and the I-71 Cup since its maiden season. The club has made the playoffs in 4 of its 6 years of existence, and won the NPSL National Championship in 2016.
With five years under its belt, AFC Cleveland continues to help the sport grow by creating a team that is unique to the region and that the local Cleveland community rally around.