Rise and grind. Rise to the challenge, and grind to accomplish the challenge. This is the motto of not only the whole Muskegon Risers organization, but the mindset that coach David Wood has been trying to create in each of his player’s heads. Through tough training sessions and scheduling challenging opponents, the Risers hope this will be the formula in building the best team on this side of the Mississippi.The Risers first challenge came on Saturday night, in the newly renovated Byron Center High School gymnasium. Facing ABK futsal, in front of a packed crowd of over 1,000 people supporting the Red Card Cancer foundation, the Risers came out victorious earning a 5–4 decision over the reigning US national futsal champions. In an atmosphere that could best be compared to the one in Rocky IV, when he defeats the intimidating Russian Ivan Drago and wins over the hostile crowd, it is exactly what the Risers were forced to do according to their midfielder Titus Koso. “The crowd was leaning towards the opposing team, but during the second half we made a comeback and won the audience over,” said Titus. After the Risers dug themselves a 3–1 hole in the second half, coach David Wood stressed to his team they needed to stay disciplined with their shape stating “we were getting pulled around too much and allowing ABK to play between us.” Muskegon Risers captain, Jai Maw, also went on to state “We made an effort to be more physical to limit their quickness of play,” which showed with the number of second half fouls awarded to each team en route to the Risers’ victory. The ability to execute the adjustments showed composure from the players in “an atmosphere that I have never seen” according Risers’ forward, Matt DeKryger. This may prove to be an important characteristic as the Risers prepare for their already sold out opening match, on May 9th, against the Detroit City FC on the road.In the bigger scheme of things, the Saturday night exhibition match between the two clubs not only provided an exciting night for the fans, but for the Red Card Cancer foundation. Due to the charity exhibition match between the two teams, the tournament was able to raise awareness for this disease, which has affected so many of our loved ones, by playing a sport we have all grown to enjoy around the company our loved ones.