KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Professional soccer is making a return to metro Grand Rapids when the Rapid City FC debuts for its inaugural season in December.

Rapid City FC is a professional indoor soccer team that will play under Major League Indoor Soccer. 

Grand Rapids FC of the United Soccer League was the last professional team to play in the area before it dissolved in 2021. 

“The excitement between the community and the fans is equally as important as it for the players,” said Joe Brefczynski, the director of operations. “I firmly believe the product on the field drives the players. Then we can create longevity with the product. That is something GRFC did very well. It is something that some of our competitors in this league and other leagues have done very well. We look to continue that excitement here in Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids is one of the strongest minor league and semi-pro markets in the country, and the only thing that is missing will be soccer. We’re looking to provide that for them as well.” 

Rapid City FC will play 12 games during the 2022-23 season, including six home games at MSA Sports Spot in Kentwood. The season will run until March. 

“The mindset there is to start small to build a fan base and build support,” said Club President Louis Stephens III. “Then what we will do is we have a couple of ideas we want to explore. There is obviously a venue downtown with a lot of our prominent sports teams already existing in that venue. We also have individuals that have brought up the idea of building in the future. We are excited to start at MSA Sports Spot. I think that gives us a great foundation to build a following, and then in the coming years, we will look to other options.” 

Fabian Rodriguez will head coach the club. He currently is the head coach for the semi-professional Grand Rapids Olé that plays under the National Futsal Premier League. Rodriguez is also Michigan’s State Futsal Director for United States Youth Futsal. His already heavy involvement in the sport will help recruit players for the team. 

“There’s a pool of very talented players in Grand Rapids. They already have a following,” said Rodriguez. “I’ve been working with a pool of players for the last five years through Futsal and soccer. We have had a lot of success. Many of these players grew up playing with myself, and that is going to be one pool of players that we are going to be depending on. Outside of that, there’s a lot of players that we’re going to communicate with to let them know that this is happening.” 

Rapid City FC will host open tryouts at their home facility on Oct. 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Then, beginning in December, they will compete against teams from Chicago, Rockford, Cincinnati and Cleveland. 

“There are a lot of moments of pause (in the outdoor game). In the indoor game, it’s non-stop action,” said Rodriguez. “It’s a lot more fun for spectators to be entertained.”