A semi-professional football team is slated to begin play at Veterans Memorial Park after getting final approval from the city.
The board of aldermen approved the agreement with the Franklin County Falcons and coach Patrick Hunter at its Monday, Feb. 8 meeting. The team will pay the city $25 per game to use soccer field No. 3 at Veterans Memorial Park on five dates between April 17 and June 12, plus a scrimmage game at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27.
The practice game was originally planned for Feb. 13 but was postponed because of frigid weather.
The city will keep concession revenue from the games.
Zachary Lanham, a former Union High School player who is a defensive back on the Falcons, gave more details about the Falcons at the January park advisory board meeting. They are scheduled to play in the Impact Developmental Football League.
“A lot of the teams are more spread apart than you’d think,” Lanham said. “We are traveling to Omaha, Nebraska; Springfield, Missouri; which is the halfway point between us and another team from Arkansas.”
The team, which plays eight men at a time, has two players who played with the XFL’s St. Louis Battlehawks during the 2020 season that was shortened by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Lanham said, though no players listed on the Battlehawks final roster were on a roster on the Falcons website (hometeamsonline.com/FRANKLINCOUNTYFALCON).
Players also have experience in indoor football leagues.
“We have a couple guys from college, from SEMO, Missouri State, Mizzou and also old high school players who rejoined just to play,” he said. “We’re actually a good-looking group of guys that have semi-pro experience already.”
Players on the team range in age from 18 to 37, Lanham said. Some of the players know each other from playing padless tackle football games each Sunday in Washington, which draws players from around the area.
“If this shows anything, it shows that there is a huge interest in the area for football-related activities, not just due to COVID, but just in general,” Lanham said.
Lanham encouraged the Union Parks and Recreation Department to consider an adult flag football league in the community. “You would get 100 people I guarantee,” he said.
There will be no charge to attend the games, Parks Director Chad Pohlmann said.
Lanham’s brother, Sam Lanham, is a receiver and defensive back on the Falcons. Former Union High player Cameron Frost is a quarterback on the team.