A new professional arena football team is set to debut this spring in Western Pennsylvania.
The Burgh Defenders, an expansion team of the American Arena League, will be making a home at RMU Island Sports Center.
The league, in its second season after forming as a merger between two other leagues, also has Northern Division teams in Wheeling, West Virginia; Trenton, New Jersey and North Billerica, Massachusetts.
The West Virginia Roughriders and NJ Flight are returning for the second season in the AAL, while the New England Bobcats are moving from another league. The AAL’s Southern Division has eight teams in North and South Carolina and Georgia.
The club will be owned by Antjuan Washington, who previously owned Pittsburgh’s ABA basketball team, the Steel City Yellow Jackets.
“We are extreme excited to join the American Arena League,” Washington said in a press release issued by the league. “We look forward to the level of competition this league is known for. We are also beyond excited to bring arena football back to the City of Pittsburgh. This city has some of the richest football traditions in the country, and we are honored to join in on that tradition.”
The last indoor football team to call Pittsburgh home was the Power of the Arena Football League, which played at PPG Paints Arena (then Consol Energy Center) from 2011 to 2014.
The league’s 11-game season runs from late March to early June. The Defenders are currently scheduled to play seven home games at RMU Islands Sports Center, a 1,200-seat venue that is the primary home of the Robert Morris men’s and women’s ice hockey teams.
The team has scheduled an introductory press conference on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 1 p.m. in the Hat Trick Club at RMU Island Sports Center and is holding tryouts at Greentree Sportsplex on Sunday, Jan. 13.