The West Virginia Roughriders enter the National Arena League as an expansion team for the 2020 season, however, West Virginia is no ordinary expansion franchise. The Roughriders, formerly known as the Richmond (VA) Roughriders have years of experience competing in various arena football leagues, playing in both the Arena Pro Football League (APF) and the American Arena League (AAL).
The team is led by owner and General Manager Gregg Fornario, and they have high expectations as they join the very competitive NAL. “I have been the owner since the start, March 2017, and I am going on my fourth season,” said Fornario. “We are 32-2 as a franchise and won two championships (APF 2017, AAL 2019) and had two undefeated seasons,” added Fornario. Winning championships, and offering a platform for players to continue their dreams and also continue to the next level makes Fornario’s job one of the best. Fornario also said he loves arena football because “it is a great sport and it has a great family friendly feel.”
Fornario added, “we have worked hard to build the Roughriders brand over the years and as winning is a big help, playing in an established league with great competition and great ownerships such as the NAL will be a huge boost for us.”
The Roughriders have had some talented players come through their organization. Included in that group are NFL All Pro Dallas Cowboy Greg Hardy '18 and Superbowl winner New Orleans Saint Robert Meachem ‘18. Other talented players that have seen some time as Roughriders are Malcom Bunche, who went on to play for the NY Giants & XFL, and Shawn Oakman who went on to play in the XFL. Fornario is committed to putting a quality product on the field for his fans to enjoy.
The National Arena league is planning for a mid June start, and Fornario said “the competition around the league will be like no other league.” He went on to describe the other NAL teams by commenting that every team is stacked with quality players from top to bottom, including some very talented coaching staffs.