The fledgling L.A. KISS of the Arena Football League will field a new-look team Saturday when it visits the Pittsburgh Power (5-3).
After a loss against Cleveland last week, the team's fifth consecutive defeat, the KISS (2-6) gave its roster a major overhaul. Seven players who suited up in the last game, including quarterback J.J. Raterink, are no longer with the team.
The KISS traded the struggling Raterink for the rights to Aaron Garcia, an 18-year veteran who is the league's career passing leader with 60,450 yards.
Garcia, 43, was the most valuable player of the 2011 AFL Championship game. He had unofficially retired from the league last month when he left his former team, the Jacksonville Sharks, because of family issues.
KISS co-owner Brett Bouchy called Garcia, who lives in Sacramento, and convinced him to join the Los Angeles franchise.
Veteran receiver Markee White and defensive leader Andre Jones are also gone. "Hopefully that's ringing bells to the younger guys that no matter how many years you've played in this league, if you're not doing your job we're going to replace you," said KISS Coach Bob McMillen.
Bouchy and team President Schuyler Hoversten watched the team practice Wednesday and McMillen acknowledged he was "getting pressure from a lot of different areas."
Garcia said he hopes to be the spark that helps turn the season around.
Along with his record for passing yardage, he owns AFL career marks for completions and touchdown passes.
"We've got some work to do and some things to turn around, but I think the coaching staff and the organization is committed to that," Garcia said. "We win one game and then we can start a roll and get things moving in the right direction."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times