Introducing: Utica’s New Semi Pro Football Team, Utica Yard Dogs!
Utica, NY (WIBX) - It's official ... The City of Utica has a semi-pro football team. The announcement introducing the team was made at City Hall and General Manager Dave Hadasz says he's been waiting for this day for a long time. Hadasz said, "It's something that I've always looked forward to." The teams first game is planned for June 4th, a home game against Watertown. He says tickets to all the games will be $5 for everyone and there will be fireworks to kick off the first game.
Hadasz said the team is still looking to grow its players and is encouraging anyone interested in joining the team to contact them about tryouts. He said, "We're going to have open tryouts and training camps and anyone that's over the age of 18 is eligible to tryout for the team." He said most of the players have a background in high school or college amateur levels sports. Hadasz added that the team has signed about 10 players from Syracuse, Doldgeville and Herkimer County so far and are still looking at over 40 other applicants. He says training camp will start in a few weeks.
Utica Yard Dogs is a non-profit organization and teams are formed on a volunteer basis. Utica Yard Dogs Spokesperson, Dave Gibson said the team's sponsors include, NBT Bank, Chucky Cheese Pizza, and Little Ceasar's Pizza. Gibson says Little Ceasar's is offering free bread sticks to those who buy tickets to the game. Ticket stubs are required to redeem the free bread sticks.
Officials say the 10 to 12 game season schedule of the Northeastern Football Alliance will be released at a future date. Utica Mayor David Roefaro who quipped about trying out for the team said, "Our semi-pro team the Utica Yard Dogs ... I'm very proud to have them in our city. This is when I talk about building a community, the things that make a community better is teams like this and events like this--people who really care. I also said that we needed a semi pro team no matter what sport it is." Roefaro said the city will stand ready to help the team prosper, giving city residents a team they can be proud of.
To learn more you can contact the team at: (315) 796-0700, www.uticayarddogs.com or via email at, firstname.lastname@example.org. Gibson said season tickets will be available for purchase next week at Babe's in North Utica.