The Peach State Cats were set to bring professional football to Forsyth County in March, but COVID-19 prevented the arena football team from ever playing a down.
Now the Cats are calling on local football players to help fill out their roster.
The Cats will host an open tryout at 2 p.m. Oct. 18 at Otwell Middle School for players interested in playing arena football in 2021. Registration is $25, and players must bring cleats and workout gear.
The United Arena League plans to open its season May 2021. The Cats will play their home games at the Cumming Fairgrounds.
"The last five months, we've just been playing things by ear and listening to what college football is going to do, and the NFL," Peach State Cats president Tim Freeman said. "Based on the decision that they're going to be able to play this fall, we're going to go ahead and prepare for 2021 as if things are going to be OK and we're going to be able to play."
The Cats were scheduled to open the 2020 season in March, but after COVID-19 shut down the sports world, the United Arena League postponed the start of the season two months before canceling it altogether.
Freeman said the Cats retained the majority of their players, but the team is calling on local players to try out.
"It's an opportunity to play for guys who may have wanted to play college football, or wanted to play at a higher level, this is an opportunity to play at a higher level," Freeman said. "Also, if you want to play at a level higher than us, if you need film or you need time to develop and get yourself back in football shape, this is your opportunity to get yourself seen again."
The Cats are coached by James Moreland, a Georgia native who played for the Marion Blue Racers, which was a professional arena football team from Marion, Ohio.
The Cats were founded in 2017 and played their home games in Dalton before moving to Athens for one season.
"I'm very optimistic that we're going to get to play," Freeman said. "I think that this COVID thing ... people are learning how to live with it now, and live in the new world that we have to live in. I think there's a very, very good chance that we'll be able to play. We talked to some doctors that I know, and we usually start our season in March, but they told us to wait until May to start, because if COVID does come back strong, the possibility of it being gone or being able to social distance and do things we're doing now would be better in May than it would in March."