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Jacksonville Sharks: Here’s Everything You Need to Know About This Football Team

Jacksonville is on the Atlantic coast of northeastern Florida. It’s the most heavily populated city proper in the state. With football as one of the most popular sports in the US, Jacksonville is also home to one of the professional American football teams, the Jacksonville Sharks. If you want to learn more about the Sharks, here’s everything you need to know about them.



The Jacksonville Sharks is a professional indoor football team in Jacksonville where they play their home games at Veterans Memorial Arena. Moreover, knowing more about the Sharks will involve looking deeper into what has helped them become who they are today. To start, here’s a brief history of the Jacksonville Sharks throughout the years.

World Football League

The team is part of the original World Football League franchise (WFL) franchise, where they also used to compete. The WFL was a failed attempt to launch a major professional football in the USA against the National Football League (NFL). Going back, the Sharks collapsed because of financial difficulties in 1974.

Aside from that, they were also not doing relatively well in the same year, and even after the head coach Bud Asher was fired, the team didn’t improve after Charlie Tate and continued losing in six more of their remaining eight games. There were also issues about the season tickets that completely folded the Jacksonville Sharks.

However, they rebranded the following year for the 1975 season as the Jacksonville Express with head coach Charlie Tate. The team was composed of a few players from the Sharks, and new staff were recruited. However, the newly rebranded team didn’t acquire their desired breakthrough because the WFL ceased operations in their 1975 season.

Arena Football League

The Jacksonville Sharks underwent complete reorganization and entered the Arena Football League (AFL) for the 2010 season. Before that, the AFL had set its eyes on placing a football franchise in Jacksonville since the 1990s. The league eventually decided to close off the idea. It’s because the Jacksonville Coliseum is too small for the AFL standards despite being where most of the city’s indoor professional sports teams host their games,

It was in 2002 when the Jacksonville Tomcats was established as an inaugural franchise in af2, the AFL’s developmental league. Their goal was to develop football players to adapt to the pace and playing style of arena football. Furthermore, the Tomcats and AFL ownership has looked forward to the new Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena with 15,000 seats. However, the Tomcats folded just after the 2002 season before the arena was even completed.

In 2009, the AFL restructured and finally decided to place an expansion team in Jacksonville. The ownership group is the Jacksonville Sports Group, led by Jeff Bouchy, a former part-owner of the Orlando Predators AFL team. Since then, the Sharks have won several championships, namely the 2011 League Championship, 2011 and 2015 Conference Championships, and six seasons of Playoff appearances.

National Arena League

The Jacksonville Sharks later announced that they were leaving the AFL on October 12, 2016, and will begin their 2018 season with the rival league. They initially decided on the Indoor Football League (IFL) but were rejected, and on November 18, 2016, Jeff Bouchy announced that they had successfully joined the National Arena League (NAL).

On top of this, he also announced Mark Stoute as the team’s second coach, the former Toronto Phantoms head coach. They were undefeated for eight games and were soon fired. After hiring Siaha Burley as his replacement, the team remained undefeated until they lost to Monterrey Steel for their home finale.

However, the opposing team’s celebration didn’t last long after the Sharks successfully avenged their loss one week later in the Playoff semi-final.

Jacksonville Tryouts

The new season of the NAL will start on April 8, 2023. So, the Jacksonville Sharks Coaching staff will host open tryouts on March 11, 2023, before the regular season’s opening. It’s also going to be the first season of the new head coach Jason Gibson, who is also proud of the 53 players he has helped advance their football careers in the CFL, USFL, and NFL.

If you’re interested in partaking, the open tryouts will start at 10:00 and end at 2:00 in the afternoon. You can visit Blue Cypress Field, 4012 University Blvd N, Jacksonville, Florida. The tryouts will include testing, position-specific situations, and exit interviews. You can read more about player eligibility here.

However, if you’re a Jacksonville Sharks fan, you can come and support them during the season. Just like NFL team betting where you place a bet on your favorite NFL team, you can also place a bet on your favorite NAL team as a way of supporting them. With the rich history and achievements of the Sharks, you can support them in the 2023 NAL season on April 8 to August 12.

Final Thoughts

It took several years for Jacksonville to gain recognition for what it can offer on the football field. Fortunately, after several reorganizations and rebrands, the Jacksonville Sharks have finally been formally established for the world to see and have become one of the most successful Arena Football franchises in the whole country.

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