The Tri-City Rush indoor football team is the newest professional team in the Tri-Cities. They are set to play in the American West Football Conference starting in May.
Over the weekend, Head Coach and owner Brandon Tate whittled the roster down to 25 players.
"It's been exciting," said Coach Tate. "It took about 6 months to put this roster together."
While their first game is weeks away, there's a lot to do. The team has a playbook to learn, but something being talked about is the transition to the arena football game. It's a different brand of football.
"I am learning with the players," said Tate, "but I know football. It's the same thing, but it's a different game."
Players like Josh Frazier know football -- Playing for Alabama and going on to play in the NFL. Frazier is transitioning from nose guard to offensive line and picking up the arena game at the same time.
"This is actually my first time playing arena football," said Frazier. "It's a little different but I mean football is football."
Frazier took some time off for personal reasons and says he is excited to get back to work.
"Anytime you can come out show what you can do is a blessing," said Frazier. "I'm taking everything head first, forming a bond with my new teammates, and seeing what we can accomplish this year."
Frazier, like many others, made the team, and is now calling the Tri-Cities home and for Frazier, he says it reminds him of home.
"I've been here for two days," said Frazier on the last day of camp. "It's beautiful. I'm from Arkansas and it reminds me of the Ozark mountains. It reminds me of home."
Meanwhile, others are no stranger to the arena game. Runningback and former Philadelphia Eagle Kiethon Flemming resides in the Tri-Cities. He originally moved here to play with the Tri-Cities Fever, but stayed to raise his family.
"I'm local. I live here. I spent two years with the Fever and that's what brought me here. I'm excited to be a part of what we are doing here."
And having that knowledge on the roster is helping the organization adjust to the arena game.
"Having guys like Kiethon Flemming that have played arena football is awesome," said Coach Tate. "They are like a player-coach for me."
The Rush will be playing at the Hapo Center, but in this COVID year, things might look a little different. In Phase 3, currently just 400 fans would be able to attend. Coach Tate says he hopes that might change as the season rolls along, but is excited to get on the field.
"We want to earn the support back the support that's been lost for arena football around here," said Coach Tate. "We're excited to show them the product we've put together."
Jack Line Backer
|Dashun Salgado Jr||WR|
The Rush first game is on Saturday, May 8th against the Yakima Canines. The team is holding a Kickoff Party on May 7th while they home opener will be May 15th.