FORGOT YOUR DETAILS?

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 / Published in Football
Cristina Rojas | For NJ.comBy Cristina Rojas | For NJ.com
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on April 25, 2017 at 3:40 PM, updated April 25, 2017 at 4:48 PM
 TRENTON — Professional sports are returning to the capital city’s arena and the owners are hoping they’ll be more successful than the other teams that folded.

The Jersey Flight recently announced that it will be the 10th team to join the National Arena League next spring, making Trenton’s Sun National Bank Center its home.

The indoor football league, which launched its inaugural season last month, features teams from Columbus, Georgia; Corpus Christi, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Albany, Georgia; Boone, North Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Monterrey, Mexico.

The new team’s owners are Samuel Davis Jr. and Kyna Ruiz. The pair have known each other for more than a decade and work together in Davis’ tax and accounting firm.

Davis, a former sports agent, says the process has been in the works for three years. He and Ruiz were having a conversation when he began to wonder what it would be like to own a team. They began doing their research and realized it was something they could do.

“It sounded crazy to everybody on the outside, but to us, it seemed achievable,” said Ruiz, a sports lover and former basketball player. “We just kept moving forward and it happened.”

Neither have roots in Trenton, but are confident they will find success in the city and want to be a part of its revitalization efforts.

“Sun Center was very welcoming … and it made sense to go to the state’s capital if we wanted to be Jersey’s team and represent Jersey,” Ruiz said.

The arena has been without a main tenant since the Professional Indoor Football League’s Trenton Freedom ceased operations in May 2015. The other teams that tried, and failed, were the Trenton Lightning in 2001 and the Trenton Steel in 2011, also professional indoor football teams.

The Trenton Titans, a minor league hockey team, had the longest run at the arena, playing there from 1999 until 2013.

Ruiz says they decided to wait until the 2018 season to make sure all their T’s are crossed and I’s are dotted.

“People have tried before us, and although we have all the confidence in the world, we wanted a whole year of marketing, of building relationships, of connecting with the community,” she said. “We want everybody around us to understand that we’re serious about this and we mean business. … We wanted to give ourselves time to become an established organization and for people to recognize us so that when we hit the field, there’s no reason we can’t fill the stands.”

Davis says the team will offer family fun at affordable prices. He described arena football as a fast-paced, high-scoring game and says tickets will range from as low as $5 to around $45. After each game, kids will have an opportunity to go on the field to meet players and get autographs.

“The arena sits around 8,000 and we’re hoping that everyone comes out and supports,” he said.

The league’s closest team to Trenton is the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks and Davis and Ruiz hope to create a regional rivalry.

“We’ve already been to their games and visited the owners,” Davis said. “We want to see how we can keep their stands filled as well as ours.”

The team plans to announce its coaching staff soon, and will hold tryouts later this summer.

The pair also started a nonprofit organization, Jersey Flight Community, as a way for them to get involved in the community and give back. They hope their initiatives will empower and educate both kids and their parents.

Season tickets for next year’s inaugural season go on sale beginning May 1. For more information, call 1-877-339-2338 or visit jerseyflightfootball.com or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Cristina Rojas may be reached at crojas@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @CristinaRojasTT. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017 / Published in Football

Retired NJ State Police sergeant, dispatcher bring arena football back to Trenton: Jersey Flight

By David Foster, The Trentonian

TRENTON >> A pair of retired New Jersey State Police employees will try to do something never accomplished: Make a professional sports team flourish at the Sun National Bank Center in the capital city.

Samuel Davis Jr. and Kyna Felder-Ruiz will bring professional arena football back to Trenton with their team, Jersey Flight. The team will play in the newly created National Arena League (NAL), which started its inaugural season last month.

Neither Davis nor Ruiz are deterred about the failed sports team experiments at the arena since its inception in 1999. Giving them time to get settled in, the owners announced the team’s formation a year before Jersey Flight is expected to start playing March 2018.

“We’re spending more time and effort on actually planning out so it’s done the right way,” said Ruiz, who is a retired state police dispatcher. “It was announced a year earlier solely for marketing efforts and giving us time to build our fanbase, to connect with the community, to raise the dollars that we’re going to need to successfully run a whole season. I think that the other teams before us didn’t work out mainly because of poor management.”

Ruiz worked with Davis, a former New Jersey State Police sergeant who retired in 2015 after 28 years on the force, the past three years to bring an arena football team to New Jersey. The pair, who are also business partners and run a tax business in Plainfield, form the first African-American 100-percent-owned sports franchise in the state.

Davis said he fell in love with arena football when he was an agent for professional football and basketball, representing more than 30 guys while still working as a trooper.

“I liked the excitement of the sport, the close connection it has to its fans,” Davis said last week. “I like how you can relate to the community through arena football. It’s high scoring and high excitement.”

Life for professional sports teams at the Sun National Bank Center have left a series of tombstones.

In August 2015, the Trenton Freedom, a member of the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL), became the third indoor football team to fail at the Sun National Bank Center, lasting one year longer than the previous two.

The Trenton Steel called the 8,000-seat arena home for six games in 2011. A decade earlier, the Trenton Lightning lasted just one season.

Sustaining the longest run as a sports team in the Hamilton Avenue building, the Trenton Titans, a minor league hockey team spent 14 years at the center before suspending operations in 2013.

The Philadelphia Soul, of the Arena Football League, did play one of their home games last year at the Sun National Bank Center.

To make a push in the Trenton community, Davis and Ruiz also launched a nonprofit organization, Jersey Flight Community, to create positive social impact in the capital city.

“We don’t want to be those people who come in and take,” Ruiz said. “We’re going to give back to the community. We need to find out what the needs are around the arena and surrounding city.”

On the business side, Jersey Flight is already a member of the MIDJersey Chamber of Commerce and will sponsor its annual golfing event this summer.

When asked what drew the owners to Trenton, Ruiz responded: “We’re Jersey’s team so why not pick the capital?”

“Trenton is in the process of a renaissance, a comeback of their own,” said Ruiz, who was an standout high school basketball player at St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City. “We want to be able to just take part in the revitalization of New Jersey in general but especially our capital.”

Currently, there are eight NAL teams spread throughout the U.S., including one from Mexico. When Trenton Flight joins next year, there will be 12, with the hope to expand to 20 teams by 2019, said Dean Stevenson, the team’s director of creative and strategic development.

“We want to bring the Sun back to its glory from the standpoint of the excitement of arena football,” Stevenson said. “The NAL is establishing a very solid groundwork for the future of arena entertainment. It’s not just about filling the seats and bringing some cash in. It is about how we can help the community, how we can bring this together with the community and unfortunately, the previous arena teams really didn’t do that.”

Tryouts will be held in the summer over three different locations in New Jersey. There will be 30-something players on a roster and the games will be 8-on-8, Stevenson said.

Season tickets are currently on sale.

For more information, visit nationalarenaleague.com or call 1-877-339-2338.
Monday, 24 April 2017 / Published in Football
Jersey Flight Football, Inc. (JFF) is pleased to announce the official kick-off of the Jersey Flight Football Team (National Arena League – NAL) playing their home games at Sun National Bank Center, Trenton, New Jersey, starting in the Spring of 2018. Owners Kyna Felder-Ruiz and Samuel Davis, Jr. are excited to be partnering with the NAL and the Sun National Bank Center to bring the excitement of Arena Football back to the Mercer County community and surrounding region.

In a historic business development, Jersey Flight Football, Inc. will be the first African American 100 percent owned New Jersey sports franchise featuring an African American Woman Majority Director. Season Tickets will be available for sale starting in May of 2017.

Also officially launching is the non-profit organization Jersey Flight Community, Inc. (JFC)
The mission of Jersey Flight Community is to be a social impact organization aiming to promote a lifelong enjoyment of sports, while emphasizing positive community engagement and instilling the core values of discipline, teamwork, safety, respect and integrity. Jersey Flight Community looks to identify and invest in long term strategic partnerships throughout the communities in which we operate. The JFC organization will allocate capital resources, provide infrastructural and financial support, working alongside our management team to enhance best practices and identify and explore growth opportunities.

The National Arena League (NAL) is celebrating its inaugural season in 2017. Playing with eight teams spread across the eastern and southern United States (with one team in Mexico), the league’s regular season kicked off on March 17, 2017 in Columbus, Georgia.

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