When the 2022 arena season kicks-off on January 7, it will mark the 8th year the Risers have played soccer in Mercy Health (L. C. Walker) Arena. Ben Ritsema has been leading the team since it’s very first game on December 12, 2015 and the Risers are excited to announce “Coach” will remain at the helm through at least the 2025 season.

“I’m thrilled to continue the growth of arena soccer in our community as the head coach of the Muskegon Risers men’s arena team” Ritsema said, “I played youth, high school, and college soccer in Muskegon and have also coached here at those same levels. I’m extremely proud to keep coaching right here in Muskegon. The game of soccer, especially the arena game, has made tremendous strides in our area. The players and I along with our amazing Risers fans, and even non-soccer fans, have really grown in their passion for the arena game.” 

Ritsema’s experience building programs from the ground-up as a high school and college coach has been invaluable to the Risers organization, and he has proven the ability to win at one of the highest levels of arena soccer in North America.

“Bringing a championship team to Muskegon is my main goal and we plan to represent Muskegon on and off the field at the highest possible level” Ritsema added, “I’m most looking forward to working with the players to prepare for our upcoming season and to see the fans back at Mercy Health Arena cheering on their favorite players and a team that they are so passionate about.”

The Risers men’s arena team has competed independently and as a member of the Premier Arena Soccer League, and is the longest-standing member of the Major Arena Soccer League II’s Great Lakes Conference, which includes the Chicago Mustangs, Cincinnati Swerve, and Cleveland Crunch. Regardless of competition format, the team has continued to further its mission of positively impacting the MKG Lakeshore through soccer and the atmosphere created in downtown Muskegon during Risers arena games is a cornerstone of that mission.

“Nothing beats a Risers game night in Mercy Health Arena, which has become a jewel in the arena soccer community where any coach, player, or fan would want to be a part of. It’s something that really gets my adrenaline going and makes me want to work as hard as possible to bring a championship to the Muskegon community. Risers fans have the reputation of being among the best in arena soccer, now the team needs to reward them with high level play, exciting goals, exceptional goalkeeping, and big wins.”

The Risers arena season starts January 7! Get your tickets by visiting https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/16859/mercy-health-arena-risers or by calling the Risers Office in Mercy Health Arena at (231) 322-7110