Signings, Try Outs and Still Some Rumors
As the Sun breaks the horizon on an amazing Tuesday, arena football fans are getting their weeks started and are waiting on some good news from their arena football teams. Will this be the day that NEWS comes out that people can trust. Will schedules and Teams be announced? Let’s hope.
After the American Arena League meeting over the weekend, rumors are coming out about schedules and ways to raise attendance. It’s going to be an interesting season.
In other AAL News, the Carolina Energy have signed former Vermont Bucks QB Steffen Colon for 2019 and they have set up the last open tryout for the team. The try out is set for January 19, 2019.
The West Virginia Roughriders have signed Offensive Coordinator Laroi Johnson for the 2019 season, Johnson, a seasoned arena football veteran, is now set to take the helm of the highly anticipated West Virginia Roughriders offense come March and the start of the 2019 AAL season at the WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia. As a player Laroi has 8 years of experience in arena football playing for such franchises as the Utah Blaze, San Angelo Stampede, Marion Blue Racers, Cape Fear Heroes, Erie Explosion and the Harrisburg Stamped. Following his playing days Johnson would go onto begin his coaching career in 2009 at Baldwin High School followed by Peabody High School, University Prep (U.S.O Football), and Imani Christian Academy. Most recently Johnson was the Head Coach of Sto Rox High School in McKees Rocks Pennsylvania for the 2018 season.
The Roughriders have also re-signed offensive lineman/tight end James Carter Sr. for the 2019 season, the team announced on Monday, January 14th, 2019. Carter, a former graduate and player for NC Wesleyan and mainstay standout for the previous team who played in Richmond, the Richmond Raiders, was signed by the Richmond Roughriders in their 2017 inaugural season at the Richmond Coliseum. Carter was instantly a fan favorite since his first days with the Raiders, as the fans gave him the name “Big Game James”, and that still rang true for the Roughriders as James Carter Sr. would become a tremendous help along the offensive line and a true asset to the Roughriders high scoring offense, paving the way for an undefeated inaugural championship season in 2017 and another championship appearance in 2018.
Over in the National Arena League, even though the team has not been OFFICIALLY Announced, the Orlando Predators facebook page has announced that the team will be holding a try out on JAN. 19TH at Edgewater High School in Orlando. The Cost for the tryout is $65. The Rumor as we see it at the moment is that the Predators have fallen out of love with the NAL and is now poised to rejoin the Arena Football League. More on this as it comes in.
Former Massachusetts Pirates head coach Ameer Ismail will be joining the Carolina Cobras 2019 coaching staff the team announced. After leading the Pirates to the top record in the NAL this past season (11-5) and winning the NAL Coach of the Year Award, Ismail has decided to move in a different direction with his career.
The Cobras also signed former Massachusetts Pirate LB Nick Haag (6’3”, 240) adding to their already solid line. Haag, a native to Worcester, Massachusetts, fit right in with the Pirates, playing in his hometown and helping lead the Pirates to the best regular season record in the NAL in 2018 (11-5), playing in 16 of their 17 games.
The Columbus Lions organization and former Georgia Bulldog Trent Thompson have agreed to terms for the 2019 NAL season. The move adds yet another dominant force to the Columbus defensive line, which is poised to be the best in all of Arena Football. Thompson will also add to the Lions’ SEC pedigree on the defensive side of the ball, joining other former SEC defensive standouts Greg Hall (Auburn), JT Surratt (South Carolina), LaMichael Fanning (Alabama), Martay Mattox (South Carolina), Shattle Fenteng (Georgia), and Bradyn Jasper (Vanderbilt) on the 2019 roster.