MAYS LANDING — C.J. Smith has anticipated the Atlantic City Blackjacks inaugural season since the Arena Football League expansion team was announced in January.

Some of their games could conflict with his work schedule, but that wouldn’t necessarily be a problem.

The 36-year-old Northfield resident is an electrician at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, where the team will play its home games.

They open their season next Saturday against the Philadelphia Soul at the Wells Fargo Center. The Blackjacks’ first home game will be May 4 against the Columbus Destroyers, the league’s other expansion team.

The Blackjacks held a pep rally Saturday at the Hamilton Mall to promote themselves to the public, attract fans and celebrate the impending start of the season.

The event featured ticket contests and T-shirt giveaways, the Blackjacks dance team — known as the Diamonds — and a meet-and-greet with Atlantic City coach Ron James and players. Among the players were quarterbacks Randy Hippeard and Warren Smith, wide receivers Lamark Brown and Kendrick Ings and defensive linemen Monte Lewis and Antron Dillon.

C.J. Smith brought sons Craig, 9, and Jack, 7, and daughter Natalie, 4, to the rally and said he plans to attend some games with his family when not working. Smith, a New York Giants fan, enjoys the NFL, but never followed the AFL until now.

“I just wanted to come out, support the team and meet the players,” Smith said. “I just figured it would be a nice time out today. I’m jumping on board here (with the AFL). We’ve been looking forward to the team starting up.”

Little Egg Harbor Township resident Mark Wurst, along with his wife, Marie, and sons Michael, 14, and Matthew, 6, were among the first to arrive Saturday, sporting Blackjacks apparel.

Mark Wurst, who previously lived in Anaheim, California, and followed the Anaheim Piranhas, a former AFL team, said he already purchased season tickets for the Blackjacks.

“I think the excitement is there,” James said. “I think once the word of mouth gets out, we will start doing a little bit as far as fan turnout for public appearances. It’s just a matter of time.

“It excites me to know that these fans are ready to go and that they are already buying apparel and buying their tickets. There is a good buzz around here, and I think the more we go out and meet the public and have events that promote the team, the more excitement we’ll generate.”

Egg Harbor Township resident William McFarland, 36, who was with son Trevor, 4, and nephew Evan Roselle, 18, has been a fan of the three-time champion Soul since that franchise’s first season in 2004.