The Major Indoor Soccer League used to schedule a mid-season owners meeting in conjunction with its annual All-Star Game. The MASL’s offseason owners meetings have the makings of a similar tradition.
The league’s owners will converge June 15-16 to discuss the upcoming 2017/18 season and to enjoy the MASL International Challenge hosted by the St. Louis Ambush. Last year, owners and fans were treated to an MASL International Challenge hosted by the Ontario Fury. The US vs. Mexico formatted game drew a crowd of over 7,000 to Citizens Business Bank Arena. This year’s game takes place on Friday, June 16 at Family Arena and the format is US vs. The World.
The game is a chance for the Ambush to reconnect with fans after a string of four losing seasons that bottomed out with a 1-19 record in 2016/17, the first year under new ownership.
Heading into the 30th season of St. Louis Steamers/Storm/Ambush arena soccer the ownership group of Shelly and Will Clark, Steamers legend Tony Glavin, and Dr. Elizabeth Perez have the awesome responsibility of nurturing and resurrecting one of the sport’s most hallowed markets.
Shelly Clark, who is the team’s majority owner and CEO, has literally laid out a running manifesto entitled The Culture of We, that began in February, and has continued in incremental installments.
Everyone agrees improving the roster is the number one priority. “We have a lot of changes to make,” said Clark, “but we’ll be focusing on the important ones, like player acquisition and on field performance.”
So far those efforts have yet to bear fruit, but Clark is undeterred. The Ambush, however, have been successful in assembling talent for Friday’s MASL International Challenge, which includes players from all four corners of the league’s geographic footprint.
Team USA is coached by Bernie Lilavois and features Franck Tayou, Taylor Bond, Matt Clare, Joey Tavernese, Gordy Gurson, and John Sosa. Team World will have Giuliano Oliviero behind the bench, steering a roster that features Ian Bennett, Max Ferdinand, Marcio Leite, and the goalkeeping one-two punch of Jesus Flores and Marcel Feenstra.
The Ambush will also host a player combine Friday afternoon, where aspiring players will have a chance to be seen by representatives from teams across the MASL landscape.
While the MASL, and PASL before it, have experienced growth, the trick has been to find the balance where the league can progress without outpacing some of the league’s less developed markets.
With the MASL hitting its stride, items on the league agenda are likely to be mostly administrative, but some of the topics include operational standards, web and television broadcasting, and the possible addition of a second division league. The playoff format, length of season, and season start and end dates will also be discussed.