National Indoor Soccer League made its debut on Sunday when the Memphis Americans hosted the Columbus Rapids. The four-team circuit (Fayetteville Fury, Rome Gladiators) based in the mid-south features both men and women sides that will compete on gameday. A 20-game regular season is schedule to conclude in early April. Rome Gladiators were unable to secure a home arena and will play a 12-game schedule as a travel-team.
An announced crowd of 1,802 witnessed the inaugural matches played at the 8,400-seat Landers Center in Southaven, Mississippi which is also home of the Memphis Hustle (NBA G-League). Matches also streamed live on the NISL YouTube channel.
Memphis Americans fans were treated to a pair of victories with the men winning 6-0 followed by the women 10-2.
Jowayne Laidley made history by scoring the first-ever goal late in the first quarter after a turnover by the Rapids goalkeeper was taken by Samuel Castro who fed the ball to a streaking Laidley who buried a shot in the right corner. The 29-year old Laidley has plenty of pro indoor experience having previously played with the Florida Tropics and St. Louis Ambush.
Djordje Djordjevic would make it 2-0 just prior to the end of the quarter with a powerplay tally. Djordjevic would add a second along with an assist in the second half on his way to being named First Star of the game.
Castro, Mike Scharf and Corey Adamson rounded out scoring for the Americans.
NISL action resumes on Thursday when Columbus host Fayetteville and Memphis face Rome. Full schedule can be found here.