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Training Camp to Prepare for the 2019 Season Began This Week

ALBANY, NY- The Albany Empire announce that three players have been assigned to the team roster through free agency.  Per League and team rules, terms are not disclosed.  The free agency signing period for the Arena Football League began on Monday, March 4.

Brandon Fuentes, Defensive Back

Entering his third year of indoor football, Brandon Fuentes returns to Albany after spending some time with the team at the beginning of 2018. He attended St. John Fischer College, by way of the University of Mount Union.  He started in his first year at SJFC and helped lead a team to the elite eight.  In his senior season in 2016, Fuentes led the conference with six interceptions.  In 2017, he joined the High Country Grizzlies, where he ran multiple turnovers back for touchdowns.  Fuentes spent the 2018 season playing for the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks of the NAL. Being from Avon, NY, Fuentes is excited for the opportunity to play near his hometown.

Troy Grant Jr., Wide Receiver

Troy Grant Jr. joins the Empire after participating in a workout down in Orlando with the Empire coaching staff.  A Junior College transfer, the Florida native played his junior and senior seasons at Abilene Christian University and made an immediate impact upon his arrival.  During his senior season in 2017, Grant led the team in receptions and yards and earned himself All-Conference honors.  After getting looks from a handful of NFL teams, Grant spent 2018 training and working on his craft.  The son of a former NFL player, Grant is grateful for his opportunity to play with the Empire and is excited for big things to come during the 2019 season.

Jakobi Smith, Offensive Line

Another Florida native to join the Empire, Jakobi Smith stayed in his home state for college where he played at Florida Atlantic University.  After redshirting his freshman year, Smith played in his first career game against the University of Alabama.  In Smith’s senior season in 2017, FAU went on to win the Conference USA championship as well as the Boca Raton Bowl, blowing out Akron 50-3.  That same year, Smith was named Most Improved Player on the team.  Following college, Smith participated in mini camps with the Seattle Seahawks and the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL.  Most recently, Smith was a member of the Orlando Apollos of the Alliance of American Football League.

Fans can secure season tickets for the Albany Empire by calling 518-533-2200, by going to, or by stopping by the Empire office located in the Times Union Center.  A limited number of great seats are still available!  Want to bring your organization to a game, fundraise, or perform on the field? Group experiences are now on sale.  Call 518-533-2200 for additional information.

Albany Empire 2019 Season Presented By CDPHP.

Season memberships for the 2019 season are on sale now. For tickets, contact the Albany Empire sales department at (518) 533-2200 or by going to Follow the team on Facebook at and Twitter at

About the Arena Football League

The Arena Football League enters its 32nd season in 2019. Since its inception in 1987, the AFL showcases a fast-paced, exciting game to millions of fans in a myriad of markets. With the addition of two new teams in Atlantic City, N.J., and Columbus, O.H., the League totals six teams for 2019: Albany, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Columbus, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Each team will play 12 regular-season games in 2019. One can find the League can on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using the handle @OfficialAFL.

About Times Union Center

Albany’s Times Union Center, formerly Pepsi Arena, continues to have great success. Renamed in January 2007, the Times Union Center is “Upstate New York’s Premier Sports and Entertainment Facility. Owned by Albany County and operated by SMG, the world’s largest private management firm for public assembly facilities, the Times Union Center has an adaptable seating capacity between 6,000 and 17,500. Since Frank Sinatra christened the building on January 30, 1990, more than seven million patrons have walked through the turnstiles. As a multi-purpose facility, the Times Union Center has hosted a variety of events, including concerts, family shows and sporting events, averaging 165 events each year. 

About CDPHP®

Established in 1984, CDPHP is a physician-founded, member-focused and community-based not-for-profit health plan that offers high-quality affordable health insurance plans to members in 26 counties throughout New York. CDPHP is also on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Instagram.

About Transfinder

Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Schenectady, New York, Transfinder is a national leader in intelligent transportation systems, providing transportation management systems and services to school districts, municipalities and adult care facilities. Transfinder, an Inc. magazine “fastest-growing company” for the past eleven straight years, has offices in Austin, Texas, and Shanghai, China. The software company develops and supports routing and scheduling solutions for optimal transportation logistics.

Albany Empire Partners

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