San Diego Strike Force
The San Diego Strike Force is a professional indoor football team based in San Diego, California. It is a member of the Indoor Football League and began play in 2019 at Pechanga Arena in the city's Midway district. It is owned by Roy Choi, who also owns the IFL's Cedar Rapids River Kings and Oakland Panthers. It is the second professional football team in San Diego that began play in spring 2019, after the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football, more than year after the departure of the NFL's San Diego Chargers in 2017.
|San Diego Strike Force|
Play in San Diego, California
at the Pechanga Arena
|Indoor Football League (2019–present)|
|Team colors||Flight suit green, stealth black, yellow, white|
|General manager||Geno Gerbo|
|Head coach||Burt Grossman|
|League championships (0)|
|Conference championships (0)|
|Division championships (0)|
The Strike Force is the third indoor team to play in San Diego, after the San Diego Riptide of af2 (2002–2005) and the San Diego Shockwave of the National Indoor Football League (2007). The team may have planned on being called the San Diego Lightning, as the organization's original email addresses and internal website links used that name.
The team was initially announced as a 2019 Indoor Football League expansion team in November 2018. The team announced their colors as black, navy blue, silver, as well as their initial staff on December 17, 2018. Brian Cox, a former sports agent and quarterback, was hired as the general manager, while ex-Chargers defensive end Burt Grossman was named head coach.
The Strike Force was plagued by turmoil throughout its inaugural season, with Grossman remarking the games were like he was "Southwestern College going to play Clemson or something." Their season opener against the Quad City Steamwheelers saw them allow 43 points in the first half as they lost 67–49; Grossman attributed the team's struggles to a lack of headsets for the coaches. He eventually fired the defensive coordinator and released four players on defense; the offensive coordinator had also been fired two weeks prior, though Grossman noted both coaches were on the staff prior to his arrival. The Strike Force's first home game, a 65–44 defeat by the Tucson Sugar Skulls, saw a poor playing field consisting of carpet pieces held together with duct tape; four additional players were released a day later. After a 0–3 start, owner Choi brought in the River Kings' general manager Ryan Eucker to replace Cox. The team finished the season with a 1–13 record and last place in the league; their lone win was a 40–34 victory over the River Kings.
Following the 2019 season, Eucker announced the team would undergo a minor rebrand with a new logos and colors, choosing more military tones in olive green, black, silver, and brass to better represent the city. After playing one game, a 50–36 win over the Bismarck Bucks, the rest of the 2020 season was canceled due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Strike Force also withdrew from the 2021 season due to continued pandemic restrictions in California. During the hiatus, Eucker left the team and was replaced by Geno Gerbo as general manager.
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- Krasovic, Tom (March 22, 2019). "San Diego Strike Force overhaul business side, including slashing ticket prices". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved July 4, 2020.
- "Cedar Rapids River Kings' front office reshuffle ends with Reggie Harris as new GM". The Gazette. March 16, 2019.
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- "SAN DIEGO STRIKE FORCE TAKES DOWN BUCKS 50-36". Strike Force. March 9, 2020.
- "STRIKE FORCE LOOKING AHEAD TO 2022 SEASON". Strike Force. April 14, 2020.
- "FOOTBALL IS BACK!". Strike Force. April 30, 2021.