Myrtle Beach Freedom gearing up for tryouts, first game with new - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Myrtle Beach Freedom gearing up for tryouts, first game with new coach

MYRTLE BEACH,  SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Freedom is gearing up to make a mark on Myrtle Beach. In a press conference on Wednesday the professional indoor football team announced big plans heading into their first season.

The Myrtle Beach Freedom is no longer a member of the X-League, but the owner and General Manager Ronnie McCuin  announced the team is now part of the American Indoor Football League.

"The Myrtle Beach Freedom is still going strong and the X-League folding has nothing to do with what we're still trying to do here in the community,” McCuin said.

McCuin, along with AIF President John Morris and new coach Michael Coleman believe their new collaboration will leave a mark on Myrtle Beach, beyond football. For example, boosting sports tourism.

“We’re gonna bring other teams and those fans are gonna come in just like any other sport and have an effect on the economy,” Morris said.

The AIF has 22 teams, some close to Myrtle Beach, so fans can follow the Freedom, and the proximity will make it easy for other teams to bring crowds to the area.

On top of that, there have already been inquiries from more than 100 players, many locals, to try out for the team come this November.

Local experts say this program is on track to be a win.

"They've got an ideal situation in that their season is during the late winter - early spring, so there's not a lot of football going on at that time,” HGTC Sports Tourism Director Lawson Holland said. “We have a lot of football fans in the state of South Carolina so I think they've got a big advantage coming to Myrtle Beach."

First things first, it’s about finding ways to gain that support. Lawson recommends leading by example of a successful team, the Pelicans.

“They’ve got a very strong base from the tourists that visit here and I think this football team needs to do the same thing,” he said.

McCuin plans to get the community involved through fundraisers, internships, and mentorships, to name a few.

“The games are basically secondary when it comes to that,” he said. “I think if we can do that and make it fun and affordable for them, that they’ll give us a chance, and then it's up to us to make them want to come back and put a good product on the field.”

Tickets are already on sale. Tryouts for the team will begin next month and doors will open at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center for the first game, March 2016.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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