CEDAR RAPIDS — Less than nine months after the inception of the franchise, the Cedar Rapids Inferno are on the move.
While the semipro soccer team will remain firmly entrenched in Cedar Rapids, it announced Wednesday it was joining the newly-formed Midwest Premier League in time for the 2020 season.
“What is going to happen with this league now is that every team has a say in every decision that is being made,” Inferno Owner/Coach Kenan Malicevic told The Gazette. “We just want something that we can run ourselves properly and just look out for the best for our teams.”
Cedar Rapids is the fourth club to join the new league, which also includes Union Dubuque F.C., RWB Adria Chicago and DeKalb County United. Last season, all four teams competed in the United Premier Soccer League, which has over 300 teams across 32 states.
Cliff Conrad — owner of Union Dubuque F.C. — will serve as commissioner of the Midwest Premier League. Between five and 10 teams are expected to be on board for the inaugural season, which will begin in April or May and run for three months. Including exhibition matches or “friendlies,” each team is expected to play 10-20 matches.
“First and foremost, we are looking forward to good competition,” Malicevic said. “If you look around the league so far, some of the teams have had up to 50, 60 years of soccer experience in their existence. That goes without saying that they are going to be very good teams to compete against. We are excited to be joining something like that.”
With its league destination settled, the nonprofit soccer organization can shift its attention to acquiring additional sponsors.
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“We are already being contacted by a couple of different partners,” Malicevic said. “We need to attract as many people now as possible to work with us. Not in the way that we need donations, I just want to promote the name “Inferno” across town and then we are going to help them in the way that we can advertise for them.”