5 players to know, schedule, roster

The Lansing Common soccer team officially begins its second season at 7 pm Saturday, on the road against BiH Grand Rapids as part of the inaugural Grand River Open Cup.

The Robins will open up their home and Midwest Premier League slate against Tulip City United SC at 6 pm May 21 at Eastern High School Stadium.

Coach Josh Oakley returns after leading Common to a runner-up finish in the East Division and winning 10 league matches last season. Oakley has a number of returning players, including two team captains.

Here’s a look at five players to keep an eye on this season.

Julian Birge

The midfielder, who’s the team captain and the oldest player on the roster, was LCFC’s second-leading scorer a year ago, tallying seven goals.

When he’s not playing for Common, Birge is an assistant coach at his alma mater, East Lansing High School. Birge played for four years at Alma College from 2012-16 and has other semi-pro experience, including Oakland County FC.

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