New arena football team to hit Winston-Salem in the spring

United Firepower, the city’s newest arena football team, will have their first game in April.

New arena football team to hit Winston-Salem in the spring
December 08
11:38 2022

Coming this spring, there will be another option in the city for those who love football. United Firepower is a new arena football team that will take their first snaps this coming April. The team will play an eight-game season with four home games for the local fans to enjoy.

United Firepower is run by primary owner Mike James, who is a local entrepreneur and business owner. James is the owner/operator of Motto Athletics and is a native of Winston-Salem. To help bolster their roster, the team held a tryout at the Grindhouse Sportsplex in Winston-Salem last week.

The coaches from the team ran the hopefuls through a myriad of workout and strength drills to try and find the best candidates for the team.

“What I like about them is that we had some good talent out there. We already have a couple guys that are already signed, what we are looking for are a couple big names from Winston-Salem that want an opportunity to play in their hometown,” James said about the tryout. “In arena football, you get paid, not saying you’re going to get rich off of this.

“It’s a good opportunity to get you a fan base, get your brand out there, and just build yourself up as a business. And what better place to do it than your hometown where everybody can come see you play. We are just trying to give everybody a platform and show them the town we have here in Winston.”

According to James, the team signed nine or ten players to camp from the tryout last Saturday. James says camp is just another tryout, so to speak, to see if they are good enough to make it to OTAs. One advantage for James is that he is a former arena league player himself, so he knows what to look for to build a winning team.

Even in a suit and tie, James was able to knock out 17 reps on the bench press at 225 lbs. He says he did that to show the guys that staying in the weight room pays off.

“If you are a football player and you consider yourself a professional, you are doing something every single day,” said James about the hard work it takes to play professional football. “I have never played football past high school where weights didn’t come first. That was just to show them that if I am going to keep myself in shape and do the little things, I expect you to go above and beyond what I am going to do, so you need to get yourself prepared.”

When the idea for the arena team was initially pitched to James, he questioned the idea and backed away. He eventually decided to move forward with the idea after speaking with his mentor, Roderick Hinton, and his former head coach.

“They were asking me, with all the people I know and my network, to bring a team down here. They needed a head, so they wanted me to be the majority owner and I already kind of did the footwork here in Winston to start the team,” he said.

“They already had the team, they had the name, they were already in the league, so I just needed to do the footwork to make the presentation right and get the players and certain things businesswise together and put my business team together to make the whole thing happen. It was kind of like a no-brainer. They gave me the best deal I could imagine and it kind of fell into my lap. I kind of spoke it into existence and then it was kind of like it was meant to be.”

United Firepower will carry 30 players on the roster and 25 players will suit up every game. James says he would love for the core of the team to be players from Winston-Salem and the Triad area as a whole. He feels they have the talent in the surrounding area to field a winning team.

James says he would love to collaborate and partner with local businesses in the community. He feels that is one of the best ways to not only get the word out to people about the team, but to also give back to the community and next generation as well.

“We kind of want local businesses, people that are in the area that know the people. We want to bring these small businesses to the arena, which is the Annex (Winston-Salem Fairgrounds), that seats over 3,000 people,” he continued. “To get all those people in the community in one place to see the small businesses there, so we can know who is out here supporting the community and giving back. We really want to make it a place you can enjoy for the whole day.”

It is not lost upon James that he is a role model due to him being a young Black male from Winston-Salem who is a business owner, entrepreneur and now a sports team owner. He says he wants the next generation of Black youth from the city to realize that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.  

“I am a small-town kid from Winston-Salem and my dreams are big and I think I can do anything,” said James. “That’s just the mark I am trying to set for other young people. I have a son, he is 13 years old, and I am his superhero, so I am trying to do whatever I can do to make him believe that he can do anything. That’s really my inspiration.”

James first big partnership is with Roar restaurant and entertainment center in downtown Winston-Salem. The team will hold a jersey reveal there later this month. Fans will have an opportunity to meet a few players and the head coach, while also getting a firsthand view of the jerseys the team will wear.

For more information about United Firepower, please visit. The team will soon have social media pages on different platforms, where they will release content showing the development of the team.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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