Professional indoor soccer coming to Columbus

Pro indoor soccer comes to Columbus
Pro indoor soccer comes to Columbus(Dave Platta / WTVM)
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 5:12 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - There’s a new professional sport coming to Columbus. The Columbus Rapids indoor soccer team was officially introduced on Tuesday morning in a press conference at the Civic Center.

City manager Isaiah Hugley got things started with a little bit of cheerleading.

“When I woke up this morning, I looked to the skies, and I said ‘It’s rain. It’s a storm. It’s Fred. NO.., IT’S THE RAPIDS!’”

The Rapids are part of the newly created National Indoor Soccer League, and immediately announced plans to hold clinics with the area’s youth soccer programs during the offseasons, which drew praise from NIFL board member Andrew Haines.

“Involving the youth and getting involved there is the first start,” Haines said. “You get involved with youth soccer, doing those clinics. In Columbus, you look around here and all the youth soccer being played, I think they hit a home run.”

The team is owned by Joshua Blair, the majority owner of the Columbus Lions of the National Arena League football team, along with Lions head coach Jason Gibson, and Mike Jones, head of design at AFLAC.

The NISL will have both men’s and women’s divisions, making it the first pro women’s indoor soccer league in the country.

“We need sports where our girls can emulate, talk to the athletes,” Blair said. “The great thing about indoor sports is they’re based on a hockey rink and you’re so close to the action that you can talk to the players during the game. My daughters absolutely love going to the football games, and they’re going to love the soccer games even more.”

“I’m very excited that a lot of the girls I’ll get to coach will have the opportunity now to play professionally,” said Kaytlan Casaras, who coaches in the Smiths Station United Soccer Association. “That’s really cool to say the least.”

The Rapids will announce a head coach and schedule tryouts sometime in the next couple of weeks. They begin play in December.

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