In just over a month, semi-pro football is scheduled to take off in Grand Forks.
The Tri City North Stars will make their debut June 21 at Cushman Field where they will play the Rapid City Raptors. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.
The North Stars, comprised mainly of ex-college players from the area, will play an eight-game regular season, with the possibility of a 10-game schedule depending on whether they make the playoffs.
Tri City is one of eight teams in the Midwest Premier League. Other teams in the league are Rapid City, the North Shore Grizzlies, Brainerd Lumberjacks, Nebraska Law Dawgs, Minot Oilers, Bismarck Wolves and Idaho Phoenix.
The season will last from late June through mid-September.
James Kern, the owner and head coach of the team, said there likely will be between 35 and 45 players on the roster.
“We still have flexibility (for the roster) but I feel confident in the guys we have,” he said.
There is incentive in playing semi-pro football. At least two of the players with the Tri City North Stars have been playing in the Indoor Football League, spending time with the Bemidji Axmen.
“We have legitimate players,” added Kern.
To promote the Tri City North Stars debut, former Minnesota Vikings running back Chuck Foreman will be on hand at the opener.
The team basically is being built from the ground floor. There are still player needs for the team, said Kern, specifically kickers and punters.
Kern will also serve as the team’s offensive coordinator. Emerson Johnson will run the defense. The team tries to have two practices per week.
Before the first game, there will be a meet the players session at 7 p.m. on June 20 at TJ’s Sports Bar.
The first game also will honor all present and past members of the military, who will be admitted for half price.
Kern said if anyone is interested in playing for the North Stars, he can be reached at 218-831-1400.