WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - With the Capitols and Wizards continuing their post-season push, and the Nationals kicking off their season, there's definitely no shortage of sports in the D.C. area. But if you are a football nut, who is desperately waiting for the Redskins to return, there's good news.
A brand new team from the Arena Football League, has come to D.C., and is gaining popularity already. The Washington Valor attracted nearly 16,000 people to their opening game earlier this spring.
At a practice this week, WUSA9 caught up with players and coaches to ask how it's been going so far. Starting quarterback Erik Meyer said the energy is always high in the AFL, because the fans are a big part of the game.
"It's more fan oriented," he said. "You know - you've got the fans right on the wall. In the action. If the ball goes in the stands, you get to keep it. It's a very hands on league."
For those who have never watched an AFL game, they are often surprised by some major differences from NFL rules. There are only eight players on the field for one team, and it's fairly difficult to go out of bounds, due to the field walls. The field is also tiny, at just half the size of a traditional NFL field. That means, the offense is always in scoring position.
The Valor won their game opener by a score of 51 to 38, a score that looks more like a basketball halftime score, than the final for a football game.
Brandon Sesay has been in the league for seven years, and said the Verizon Center crowd was one of the best he's seen.
"The energy that D.C. brought..." he said. "I was just amazed... it really encourages me to keep working hard."
The big question is can the AFL hold an audience, with so many other teams in the District. Coach Dean Cokinos said he is hopeful they can, under one condition.
"We've got to win," he said. "We're a new startup. We're building. But we've got to win at home. So bottom line is, we need to win football games."
The Valor now have a record of 1-2, with a big matchup coming up on Saturday against Tampa Bay.
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