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Central Florida Crusaders are coming to Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. — On Thursday, the National Indoor Soccer League introduced the Central Florida Crusaders as the newest expansion team to join the league.

During a news conference, the team also announced the first of four players they have signed, including former Orlando City and Canadian National midfielder Will Johnson, who played for the Lions from 2017-2019.

Tom Traxler will be the team’s first head coach and general manager.

Traxler coached the last professional indoor soccer team to call Orlando home, the Orlando SeaWolves of the Major Arena Soccer League.

In 2020, the SeaWolves’ season ended early due to COVID-19 and the team shut down shortly after the announcement.

The Crusaders will have both a men’s and women’s team playing their home games at Addition Financial Arena on the University of Central Florida campus.

The Crusaders are the second Florida expansion team for the 2022-23 season.

Last week NISL announced our friends on the west coast would have their own team, the Tampa Bay Strikers.

Creating the potential for another I-4 soccer rivalry, like we have seen with Orlando City and the Tampa Bay Rowdies from their USL days.

The NISL was formed in 2021 and is based out of Georgia. Teams will play a 20-game schedule with both men’s and women’s teams playing games on the same day, back-to-back.

Other teams in the league include the Columbus Rapids, Fayetteville Fury, Memphis Americans and Rome Gladiators.

The 2022-23 schedule has not been released but will run from December - May.

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