COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Indoor soccer is returning to Columbus. After the recent rise and fall of the city’s first National Indoor Soccer League (NISL) team, the Columbus Rapids, the sport is making a comeback locally. Columbus’ new team, under new ownership, is called Foundry FC.   

The team’s name and ownership under the NISL was unveiled at an informal press conference held at the Columbus Civic Center at 3 p.m. on Sept. 6.

“Columbus has always been a great sports town. I’ve always loved it,” said NISL commissioner Gary Tufford to those gathered at the conference. He continued, “We just want to reboot what we had here last year.”

The Rapids’ two-year run ended when the NISL bought the team from Joshua Blair, Jason Gibson and Mike Jones.

“Look, it’s not a perfect world. Sometimes things go wrong,” said Tufford. He acknowledged the league found out that the team’s previous owners were unable to afford continuing with it shortly before the season kicked off last year.

The NISL commissioner continued, “Sometimes you got to do what you got to do to keep a team in play, and anybody that’s ever been involved in any kind of league operation understands that.”

Gibson, previously head coach of the Columbus Lions, stepped down from that position in Aug. 2022. Jones left his position as AFLAC’s head of design in summer 2022 and is currently a freelance designer.

Moving forward, Tufford said the main goal is to get people to come to games, enjoy themselves and fall in love with the sport. The NISL has made several gameplay adjustments for the upcoming season to allow for faster games and doubleheaders with men’s and women’s events at every gameplay occasion.

Tufford thinks the team will fare better this time around under a “stronger ownership group,” and with a better understanding of the local market.

The NISL hopes to start its season in January next year. It will have two division with eight teams, the last of which will be announced within the next weeks. An official competition schedule should come out in October, according to Tufford’s estimate.

Teams are currently based in Columbus; Albany, Georgia; Memphis, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Tampa, Florida and Orlando, Florida.

The NISL commissioner hopes creating league support in Columbus will show local children another avenue to enjoy soccer. Ideally, it will have the same success as indoor arena football like the Lions’ in comparison to traditional football formats, he said.

In the coming weeks and months, the league plans to roll out a marketing campaign to get Foundry FC’s name into the community.

“It’s sometimes tough to brand. It’s even tougher to rebrand,” said Tufford, “and you have to get that name and that logo out so people understand and…you know, have an opportunity and figure out, ‘Hey, that is something I want to go to.’”

According to Tufford, the strategy to ensure the longevity of the team is “pretty simple.”

He said, “If we get people in the seats, the team stays.”