The York Capitals logo shows a Revolutionary era solider holding a football in front of a 13-star American flag.
The York Capitals logo shows a Revolutionary era solider holding a football in front of a 13-star American flag. (Bill Kalina)

Like most pro football players, Keith Stokes would like to one day make it to the National Football League.

But he also understands he can't play football forever.

"As you get older you have to choose to continue your playing career or do something else," Stokes said.

Stokes, who turns 34 on Monday, has been able to do both to this point.

Off the field, the Lancaster resident works as a behavior counselor for Phoenix Academy, an alternative school in the School District of Lancaster. On the field, he's served as the defensive coordinator for J.P. McCaskey High School in Lancaster the last four seasons.

Chris Kleinman
Chris Kleinman (Bill Kalina)

He's also put together quite a successful 11-year pro career as a wide receiver and kick return specialist, playing in the Canadian Football League, Arena Football League and American Indoor Football league.

"Football has been a great tool for me to travel and see people," Stokes said.

The East Carolina University product will next bring his speed to York in 2013. He was one of four players introduced Wednesday as the initial members of the York Capitals, the new American Indoor Football team coming to the York City Ice Arena next spring.

The introductions came as part of a half-hour news conference in the lobby of the Yorktowne Hotel in front of nearly 50 people.

Jack Morris, AIF owner and chief executive officer and Capitals' majority owner, revealed the first player signings and newest coaching additions to the Capitals. He also introduced the new Capitals' co-owners and unveiled the team's new logo, which features a Revolutionary era solider holding a football with a background of a 13-star American flag.

Players: Running back Rafael Cooper, linebacker Thomas Potts and defensive back and wide receiver Archie Smith were the other three Capitals' players introduced.

York Capitals player Archie Smith, left, is introduced by Jack Morris, American Indoor Football owner and chief executive officer and Capitals  majority
York Capitals player Archie Smith, left, is introduced by Jack Morris, American Indoor Football owner and chief executive officer and Capitals majority owner, during Wednesday s news conference at the Yorktowne Hotel. Smith, a 2003 Alabama State grad, is a multi-year AIF all-star wide receiver who most recently played with the Harrisburg Stampede last season. (Bill Kalina photo)

Cooper, 37, played collegiately at Louisville in the late 1990s. He saw action in five games with the NFL's Detroit Lions in 2002, rushing for 57 yards on 12 carries. He also saw brief action in NFL Europe and the XFL, both of which are now defunct. He's spent the majority of his career playing indoor football.

Smith, a 2003 Alabama State grad, is a multi-year AIF all-star who most recently played with the Harrisburg Stampede last season.

Potts, 31, is a Morgan State product who has seen action in the Canadian Football League and various semi-pro leagues, most recently with the Stampede in 2009.

Morris also announced Kelly Logan and Ulander Giles as the two coordinators who will serve under head coach Jimmy Lewis.

York Capitals player Rafael Cooper, left, shares a laugh with Jack Morris, American Indoor Football owner and chief executive officer and Capitals majority
York Capitals player Rafael Cooper, left, shares a laugh with Jack Morris, American Indoor Football owner and chief executive officer and Capitals majority owner, during Wednesday's news conference at the Yorktowne Hotel. Keith Stokes, Thomas Potts and Archie Smith were the other three York Capitals players introduced on Wednesday. (Bill Kalina photo)

Logan has been coaching in the AIF the last eight seasons, while Giles enters his second year as a coach in the AIF and his 15th year overall in semi-pro football.

Co-owners: Brothers Chris and Joe Kleinman were introduced as the team's minority co-owners. The brothers are also co-owners of the Main Street Cigar shop in Bel Air, Md. They have been running the shop the last four years after buying it from their father.

"Me and Chris would always sit and watch football in the cigar shop. John (Morris) would come in. We smoked cigars and talked about football," Joe Kleinman, 30, said. "Next thing you know he (Morris) pulled us aside and told us about what he's doing up here in York. We looked into the league a little bit and jumped at the opportunity."

Schedule: The date of the Capitals' first game in York is yet to be determined.

The season is slated to start in April. Morris said he expects the Capitals' 2013 schedule to be released later this week.

-- Reach John Walk at jwalk@yorkdispatch.com.