Welcome to Kick-ins, a summary of the recent arena soccer news.
8/9/18 From Toronto to Mississauga Without Getting off the Sofa – The MASL’s long awaited Toronto team doesn’t have a name yet, but they took the unusual step of releasing their logo The team, which has scheduled a September 12 press conference to announce the name and other goodies, will be known as Mississauga, not Toronto, but always intended to play in the large suburb anyway.
8/13/18 El Jefe is Back – Genoni Martinez, “el Jefe de Jefes” had his brilliant career cut short just after winning another title, when the Monterrey Flash went dormant following the 2014/15 season. Meanwhile, the Rio Grande Valley Barracudas had a hapless first season in McAllen, finishing a league worst 3-19 while maintaining the second worst average attendance in the MASL. Something drastic needed to be done, and the Barracudas brought in the biggest name available. Martinez, who won six championships and four Defender of the Year awards in his legendary 19-year career as Mexico’s best indoor soccer export, will now face the challenge of building a team virtually from scratch. No word yet on if he will suit up for a 20th season at age 43. In his last two seasons with the Flash, Martinez played and coached.
8/15/18 It’s Aligned! – The MASL announced its 2018/19 alignment without any major surprises. The biggest suspense involved how the league would align the Eastern Conference with Mississauga and Orlando joining the eastern footprint of teams. Instead, the league kept the ex-Cedar Rapids Rampage with its former Central Division mates, Kansas City, Milwaukee, and St. Louis. The Florida Tropics were dislodged from the Eastern Division to pair with Orlando in what is now the South Central Division. Dallas replaced Sonora in the Southwest Division.
8/16/18 The Heal is On! – The Harrisburg Heat ended their three month coachless streak by pulling off a major coup. Defender Pat Healey retired (for the second time) from playing to accept the job as Head Coach of the Heat, extending a long tradition of former Baltimore players running the Harrisburg bench (Jim Pollihan, Richard Chinapoo, Tarik Walker, and Denison Cabral among them). Healey, 32, had played his entire 10-year career with the Baltimore Blast, winning five championships. He retired before the 2016/17 season, but returned after missing just seven games.
8/24/18 The Harrisburg Healeys – Things got downright weird when the Blast called a press conference to announce the new President and minority owner of the Heat was long-time Blast President Kevin Healey. A week ago Ed Hale hijacked the Heat announcement about the hiring of Pat Healey and, proving you can’t spell Healey without H-A-L-E, there was Hale with Kevin Healey and Heat owner Carl Delmont seated at a table adorned with a Heat logo–in Timonium, Maryland. Kevin Healey, who had been with the Blast since Hale bought the Baltimore Spirit and renamed them in 1998, is now reunited with his son. With both Healeys on board, the Heat have a tremendous soccer brain trust on and off the field, but the big question is how much time they will spend in the Harrisburg market. Delmont has run the team the last two seasons out of Baltimore and the Heat players have been more visible in Baltimore than in their own market. Holding one of the five biggest press conferences in modern team history in Baltimore is not a good message to the Heat faithful.
8/24/18 – Bonus International Arena Soccer – Hot off their Delta Dental Arena Cup win in Boise, Idaho last week, the US National Arena Soccer Team is back in action September 14-16. Ontario will see if two international teams can carry a arena date without the US or the Fury participating as Mexico and Colombia square off at Citizens Business Bank Arena on September 14. Then the US picks up the mantle against Colombia September 15 at Stockton Arena. That Sunday, the US makes their third appearance at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield when they host Mexico to close out the weekend.