It started over margaritas. In Tucson, doesn’t it always happen that way? When Kevin and Cathy Guy visited Tucson on one of their many staycations here they discussed the possibility of bringing Indoor soccer to southern Arizona.
“Every time (we) kept coming down to the city I kept saying this city is big enough to host a team and support a team and it would be great for Tucson,” Kevin Guy said on Thursday afternoon in the team’s introduction to Tucson at the Tucson Convention Center.
He added, “Why not Tucson?”
Guy, the Arizona Rattlers coach, soon googled where the team might play, not knowing whether it would be McKale Center or the Tucson Convention Center.
And, boom, six months later the idea started to take off with Kevin officially talking to TCC officials and then mayor Jonathan Rothschild.
“I felt the TCC was a perfect fit,” he said.
And so Tucson officially has an indoor football team that will compete against Guy’s very own Arizona Rattlers team. Yes, he said, he’ll continue to keep his day job and stay as coach of the Rattlers all the while being part owner with his wife, Cathy, who will operate the day-to-day operations.
“We feel we have a natural rival with the two cities and I think it’s going to work great,” Kevin said of the Phoenix-Tucson connection. “That’s on the field, but off the field we will work together to make sure both markets are a success.”
Tucson becomes the seventh franchise in the IFL, with an eighth team expected to be added soon, although it’s not clear if it will happen this season or next. The other teams are in Des Moines, Iowa, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Grand Island, Neb., Green Bay, Wisconsin, Sioux Falls, Iowa and Phoenix.
“We feel Tucson is a key to opening up the west,” Kevin said of the possible expansion.
Until then, Tucson – a team without a nickname or a named coach although Kevin has his coach already picked out – will prepare for its first season next March.
What’s clear is it will be “Tucson’s Team” as city officials and Rio Nuevo played huge roles in making it happen. Local city officials have said the team’s progress “has exceeded expectations” in getting here. All the team administrators will be locals. Kevin said that might be a first for any team.
“We’re thinking out of the box,” he said.
Ali Farhang will be a minority owner in the team. Mike Feder, longtime general manager of the local minor-league baseball teams, will be the team’s executive director.
“This is a dream come true for me personally,” Farhang said. “This is going to be a winning tradition in Tucson that we can all be proud of.”
For Feder, who has known he’d be part of the team for about a month, couldn’t wait to talk about the team and his role. He’s expecting a great experience given he was the general manager of two Arena Football teams. He called it the best years of professional management career. He expects the same experience here with so much interest.
And, of course, the excitement.
“Indoor football is to regular football what the Sonoran hot dog is to a regular hot dog,” said Rothschild.
As Farhang said, it’s a “party and a football game breaks out.”
Fans can place season ticket deposits at TucsonIndoorFootball.com and can name join in on the name-the-team contest at the site, as well.