If there's one thing I'm excited for this Spring/Summer season it's local soccer. If there are two things I'm excited for this Spring/Summer season it's local soccer and Game of Thrones. So with just a few short days before the War for the Dawn begins, I thought now would be a great time to flex my knowledge of Michigan soccer and the World of Ice and Fire. I got to thinking...What if Michigan's premier soccer teams were Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms? Here's a little fun reading heading into the big weekend. Enjoy!
The North - House Stark - Detroit City FC
An ancient house with roots that date back to before the dawn of President Obama’s second-term. Members are known by outsiders for their melancholy and iciness, while others have a wildness sometimes called "Sang Rouge.” They are well-known for their house words, “NPSL Pro is Coming,” which is a warning, not a boast. They’re closely associated with the Northern Guard, a diverse band of misfits who dress in all-black and swear an oath of duty which lasts until their death. The Guard are the most notable gatekeepers in all of the Seven Kingdoms, and have historically protected the North from the lingering threats beyond the white wall of Keyworth.
The Iron Islands - House Greyjoy - Kalamazoo FC
This House is notable for its unique soccerfaring culture and the support of its impressive Fleet. Each Summer, they hold several Kalamazoo Kingsmoots at Mayor’s Riverfront Stadium. During these ceremonies, they attempt to sacrifice opposing teams to the Drowned God, also known as He Who Dwells Beneath Pints of Craft Beer. House members have a phrase that they traditionally mutter when their playoff hopes end each year… "What is dead may never die."
Dorne - House Martell - Muskegon Risers SC
This House differs from the others due to their historically independent nature and strong ties to soccer cultures across the Narrow Sea in Milwaukee. Recent diplomatic missions have led to pledges for greater cooperation between House Risers and their peers going forward. Their House words are, “Unbowed, Unbent, Until 2020.” Bastards of noble origin are given the surname “Sand” in this region.
The Stormlands - House Baratheon - Flint City Bucks FC
Formerly rulers of the Seven Kingdoms, House Bucks has seen their supremacy challenged in recent times. They are traditionally one of the strongest houses on the field of battle and were known for putting the hammer down on PDL opponents until last year. They’ve recently retreated up the King’s Road 75 to regroup for 2019. Their ancestral home lies in the Stormlands of Mid-Michigan, and their traditional sigil features a fierce stag.
The Reach - House Tyrell - AFC Ann Arbor
This Great House is one of wealthiest and most powerful in the Seven Kingdoms. Their sigil features a Mighty Oak and their house words are, “Growing Strong.” This region hosts the Citadel of Michigan, and in turn is home to some of the most learned football maesters in all of the Seven Kingdoms. This region is occasionally referred to as The Arbor, but locals prefer “The Arb." Fun fact: The beginnings of this region can be traced back to Garth Greenhand, the legendary High King of the First Men, who lived during the Age of Hash Bash Heroes.
The Vale - House Arryn - Michigan Stars FC
House Stars is isolated and quiet, so much so that you may even forget they exist. Things got even quieter recently when they sat out the main story for 2018, but don’t count them out yet. Just when you think they’re out of the picture, they come charging into your flanks during the Derby of the Bastards. Bonus Fact: The roof of their castle, The Eyrie at Ultimate Arenas, is said to be impregnable.
The Riverlands - House Tully - Grand Rapids FC
Making their home along the Seven Kingdoms’ greatest river, this House(man) has a rich but sometimes tumultuous past. Members and their Grand Army are held to generally be reasonable people, strong in battle, and courageous in their support. Nearby landmarks include the Reformed Faith of the Seven’s God’s Eye and the Seven Kingdoms’ largest castle, “The Grand Castle at Harrenhal,” located in Grandville. Bastards of hipster birth born in this region are given the first name “Rivers."
The Westerlands - House Lannister - Lansing Ignite FC
Considered the wealthiest and possibly most powerful of all the Great Houses, they’re also no stranger to controversy. House Ignite boasts a strong team that currently hold supremacy over their peers. This house employs many of the finest sell-swords from outside of the Seven Kingdoms. On the outside this house appears to be the best-financed in the land, but further investigation shows they’re dependent on funds from Tom Dickson of the Iron Bank of Chicago. House Ignite was founded by the legendary hero Sampson the Clever. One popular story tells how he supposedly swindled Lansing Soccer from the Ransom using nothing but his wits.
Across the Narrow Sea - House Targaryen - MLS to Detroit
Across the Narrow Sea, House MLS waits patiently for their chance to take back the great soccer market of the Seven Kingdoms. Armed with the most powerful weapons in the history of American soccer, they’re not opposed to roasting those who might oppose their single-entity philosophy. Their house words are, “Fire and Soccer United Marketing.” This house is prone to entitlement and madness, presumably because of the lack of promotion and relegation. According to King Garberys II, "madness and greatness are two sides of the same coin. Every time a new franchise is born [...] the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land."