Rampage and Titants Finding New Home?


Jacob Johnson playing soccer in high school

Isaac Gomez, Staff Reporter

Seven years ago the Cedar Rapid Kernels, a professional baseball team and the Rough Riders who were an amateur hockey team, were the only things for a sports fan to look forward too. In 2012 Cedar Rapids added a professional indoor football team called the Cedar Rapids Titans. Four years later, Cedar Rapids added an amateur indoor soccer team named the Cedar Rapids Rampage United.
When the Titans first started in 2012, they were playing in the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena sharing it of course with the Rough Riders. They had to play in the Ice arena because the U.S. Cellular Center was being remodeled following the flood of 2008, so they couldn’t play there until they were done with construction in 2014.
The Cedar Rapids Rampage United was the second new team to come to Cedar Rapids, and they had their first season in 2016. For the past couple of years, their attendance isn’t where they wanted it to be. Because of this, there are rumors that the owners are looking to move the franchise to Orlando, Florida. Both The Titans and The Rampage brought something new to Cedar Rapids. They also gave the U.S. Cellular Center two new activities to promote.
Some students may know that Jacob Johnson, a science teacher at Washington and girls varsity soccer coach, is a member of the Cedar Rapids Rampage.
Johnson has quite an extensive background in soccer, including his time with The Rampage. He has played college and club soccer, including playing at Eastern Illinois University and has played locally with the club Cedar River Soccer Association. He also was apart of the Olympic Development Program, a state team that you have to qualify for to be on the US Olympic team.
When the Rampage first moved to Cedar Rapids, Johnson first heard about them from a press release while he was on vacation. On the same day, he sent an email to Chris Kokalis. “At that point, I had not played competitively for about a year and a half or so, and it was already itching at me to play competitively again,” said Johnson.
Like a lot of teams that move locations, they need to find a team to put together. Johnson had an open tryout and that’s how he was able to make the team. Every game was almost a tryout for the player, “At any point and time you could be fired and they could hire someone else.” commented Johnson on how if you are on the team it isn’t something set in stone.
Johnson had played indoor soccer before the rampage, but it was much more specific rather than outdoor soccer. He felt more comfortable outside because he had played more outside than indoor. “It’s a little more specific in terms of types of movements, plays and subbing rotations. It’s a lot more like hockey.”
With the rumors of the Rampage leaving, he wouldn’t follow the Rampage to Orlando and rather stay here and coach and teach. With student loans and finances here, he felt like it would be better to continue doing. “This is where I earn the majority of my income. It’s a nice thing to do on the side. For some, they can support themselves entirely doing that, but a lot of them don’t have the same amount of college education.”
He would still play with a team if they were to move. He was able to meet a lot of people who live around the US. He was able to meet all these people through the Major Arena Soccer League.
No matter what happens to the Rampage, Johnson will continue playing soccer. He will stay in town, have his same job and play the same sport.