Welcome to Kick-ins, a summary of the week’s news.
10/4/17 Healey dealy – Former league Defender of the Year Pat Healey re-signed for another season with the Baltimore Blast. Healey, 31, announced his retirement before last season, but then returned December 29 and played 13 of the Blast’s 20 games.
10/12/17 No longer Nasty – The USNAST, who won the 2015 WMF Arena Soccer World Cup, had a disappointing finish in their first foray into minifootball, losing 4-3 to Mexico in overtime in the Round of 16 in Tunisia. The US went 1-2-1 in the tournament, but all four teams it didn’t beat (including a 2-0 loss to eventual champion Czech Republic in a pre-tournament scrimmage, a tie against Senegal, and losses to Spain and Mexico) advanced to the semifinals.
10/15/17 Czech-Mex cooking – Mexico seemed totally in their element on the boardless minifootball field, winning their first six games, while conceding only five goals, but ran into a Czech Republic team that ran the table in the tournament. The Czech team benefited from poor finishing by Mexico and strong goalkeeping. The Czechs outscored their tournament opponents 32-3, including a 3-0 shutout of Mexico in the WMF World Cup final.
10/17/17 Cold Medina – The San Diego Sockers training camp roster was notably missing Anthony Medina. Medina, 38, was an original Socker in this incarnation of the team, and is the only player who played in all 48 games of San Diego’s record winning streak. If this is the end for Medina, he will finish with 91 goals and 54 assists in 136 games, all with the Sockers.
10/19/17 The Voice returns – Iconic San Diego Sockers play-by-play voice Craig Elsten will return to the streaming booth this year. Elsten left the Sockers to work for the San Diego Gulls hockey team, but a favorable schedule will allow him to call both sports this season. Elsten is known for his energetic narration, and was not afraid to be critical of the team or the league when he felt it was necessary.
10/21/17 Nestor investor – They haven’t announced a signing, but former Chicago Mustangs and Dallas Sidekicks star Nestor Hernandez has been in the preseason lineup for the St. Louis Ambush. Hernandez has been slowed by injuries since he scored 99 points in the 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons. As a midseason signee Hernandez scored 10 points last year in eight games with the Sidekicks.
M2 no longer emp-ty – The MASL’s second tier league, M2, revealed a group of eight teams on the league’s website. Along with the previously announced Colorado Blizzard, Colorado Inferno, and Chicago Mustangs, are the Las Vegas Knights (the original name of the Las Vegas Legends Premier Arena Soccer League team), Detroit Waza Flo, Arizona Impact, and the unfortunately named San Diego Sockers 2 and Ontario Fury II. The Inferno are a new team, but the other seven teams have played in the PASL. At least two more teams are expected to be added.
Kicked to the side – The MASL website now lists only five inactive teams, with the Dallas Sidekicks logo vanishing into the ether. Last month the league promised, “The Sidekicks Sports Management LLC are opting to take the Dallas Sidekicks 2017-18 Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) season off to allow for re-organization, with plans for a full return for the 2018-19 MASL season. Allen Event Center and the MASL are working diligently with the team’s management to adjust current agreements in order to make the Sidekicks return for the 2018-19 season a smooth and successful one,” but that effort is now already being called into question.