The Crusaders brand carries a history of success in the world of semi-professional football. In the 1980s and 90s, the Lansing Crusaders amassed 124 victories, six league championships and 11 first place finishes. As impressive as the Crusaders were on the field, it was an equally impressive impact in their community that caught the attention of three individuals who’ve set their sights on restoring the prestige tied to the Crusaders name.

Founded in 2017 by Marshall Brice, Joshua Crowther, and Bryan Frechen, the Tri-County Crusaders have taken up residence in Charlotte with the goal of winning on the football field and in the community.

“The Board of Directors vision was to create a team for the area that would be able to do more for the community and the players that play on it,” Marshall, board president, said.

Marshall said the first step was reaching out to the Charlotte Junior Orioles organization, which he knew had a strong foundation within the community.

“The relationship between the Orioles and the Crusaders was the starting point that gave the Crusaders momentum that continues to grow and further creating a home feeling for the Tri-County Crusaders,” Marshall said.

The organization has been hard at work to build relationships within the Charlotte community in preparation for their inaugural season in the Premier Amateur Football League (PAFL) in 2018.

“We’ve been working diligently to build professional relationships with businesses, other non-profit organizations, and community members in order to further enhance our reputation,” Marshall said. “The Crusader board members realized that building professional networks are important, but not enough in order to build a reputable team and organization. We are also creating, seeking, and executing acts of community service in order to add more value as a community-based organization.”

The team has joined in a few community service projects already and has more planned for 2018, Marshall said.

“As a new business and it being a semi-professional football team, we believe that building a strong community presence leads to community support,” he said. “The Tri-County Crusaders are confident that Charlotte would appreciate the positive movement and help spread the good word about the Tri-County Crusaders throughout the Tri-County Area.”

When the 2018 season kicks off, the Crusaders will feature a roster from various levels of football from novice to professional, according to Brice.

“Some players have joined via word of mouth in the semi-pro community, due to the buzz that has been created in the first few months partly due to a strong social media presence,” he said.

The season begins in May, with the first home game to take place at Mac Gobel Field in Charlotte on Saturday, May 19 at 6 p.m.

You can follow the Tri-County Crusaders on Facebook @NewEraCrusaders for more information or to purchase team merchandise.