- Posted On January 11, 2020
Among the clubs making up the new five-team California Division is the Los Angeles Lynx. The Lynx will play their home games at the Industry Hills Expo Center’s The Grand arena. Joining the Lynx in the California Division will be the Pomona Cool Riders, San Bernardino Bucking Bulls, San Diego Shockwave and Pleasonton-based Tri-Valley Ranchers. There are 26 NIFL teams set for the 2007 campaign. The Lynx are scheduled to play 14 regular-season games over 17 weeks, with the opener March 17 at San Bernardino’s Orange Pavilion. The first home game is scheduled for April 14 against Tri-Valley. “The idea is to bring a new brand of entertainment to the community and what better way than fast-action football?” NIFL regional vice president Anthony Bartley said. “This is something we’re really looking for the community to support and we’re going to do everything possible to make that happen.” Bartley, 33, is a man wearing many hats these days. Not only is he overseeing all five California NIFL teams, he’s also serving as general manager and head coach of the Lynx, as well as handling the team’s public relations. Bartley, a CIF-Southern Section Masters meet triple jump champion while at Lynwood High School in 1991, played semi-pro ball and in the German American Football League. He says he has coached at the high school, semi-pro and professional levels, the latter as a head coach in the Women’s Professional Football League. Professional indoor football is coming to the San Gabriel Valley. The National Indoor Football League, which kicks off its seventh season next month, is expanding throughout the country, including the West Coast. A top priority for Bartley is filling the teams’ rosters. Much of that will be accomplished Saturday when the NIFL holds a combine at Glendale College, giving prospective players a chance to try out for the California Division squads. Registration begins at 9 a.m. with the tryouts open to players at least 19 years old. Following the tryouts, those who make the cut will be drafted onto the five California teams and invited to camp, which Bartley says should include 30 to 40 players per team. Rosters will be trimmed to 25 for the regular season. For more information on the combine, players can call Bartley at (323) 215-8875. “We’ve gotten very good response,” Bartley said about the tryouts, which he estimates will be attended by 250 to 300 players with varied experience, including college, semi-pro and some indoor. “Basically we’re looking for athletes. What we’re hoping is that playing in the (NIFL) could be a steppingstone for a lot of players who have been overlooked. This is an opportunity for players to make it to the next level. We want to give players that opportunity.” The NIFL’s season will pretty much run parallel with that of the established Arena Football League, which celebrated its 20th campaign in 2006. One of the AFL’s franchises is the Los Angeles Avengers, now in its eighth season. The Avengers play their home games at Staples Center. The hope of Bartley and the Lynx is that fans who have the desire to watch indoor football will opt to stay within their community to do so, rather than drive to downtown L.A. While there are many similarities with the AFL – such as a 50-yard field and no punting – there will be some differences in the NIFL game. For example, there will be no nets, up to three offensive players will be allowed in forward motion before the snap, the defensive line can drop back in pass coverage, and, Bartley adds, there will be more emphasis on the running game. The NIFL has had its struggles over the years, mostly financial, because of unsteady ownership, which has forced several teams to fold during the season or, in some cases, even before the season began. Former Los Angeles Ram Cleveland Gary, has taken over as the NIFL’s president of football operations and has established strict guidelines for owners to avoid previous problems, including lack of funding to keep their franchises afloat. As for the facility the Lynx will call home, The Grand is covered, but open on all four sides. The arena, which can seat up to 5,000 spectators, has hosted a wide variety of events, including rodeo, equestrian, dog shows, motorcycle racing, music festivals, boxing, wrestling and roller derby. But not indoor football. “We’re excited because we’ve never done this before,” Industry Hills Expo Center operations manager Carol Perez said. “It’s not a traditional field, but we have no problems accommodating it. Size is not an issue. We’re just providing the facility. They’re (NIFL) very self-sufficient. They’re bringing everything in, turf and all.” “We’re very focused on family events and community-based entertainment,” Expo Center marketing director Raul Landino said. “As far as bringing in indoor football, a lot of people that time of year are hungry for football. We’re hoping we can satisfy their appetites while showing them that there’s a nice venue right in their own back yard.” [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2239 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!