Change can be hard and confusing.
When the Major Arena Soccer League announced the 2019-20 schedule on September 30, the Turlock Express, who are entering their ninth professional season, were identified as “the newly minted Cal Express”.
Teams went to work putting together graphics and printed materials that said Cal or California and still featured the Turlock Express logo. While the league hadn’t announced it, the name change was due a naming rights sponsorship by Califino Tequila, which is co-owned by San Diego Sockers owner Phil Salvagio and former Sockers player and current Director of Player Personnel Chiky Luna. Putting “California” in the name instead of Turlock could have helped the league’s image (at the expense of the Express) and putting “Califino” in the name would have helped the team’s sponsor. Instead, the MASL landed on “Cal”, which means nothing and benefits no one.
Luna could not be reached for comment.
“Cal is ambiguous, it can represent California or Califino, the team’s new title sponsor,” said MASL Director of Media Relations Jeff Husted.
On November 8, the MASL officially re-introduced the Turlock Cal Express with a new logo, new colors, and the team’s train mascot replaced by a bull skull.
So how did Turlock find its way back into the team’s name? “After the initial announcement it was determined that there was some confusion on the team regarding its home, where the team would play, if this was a new team or a continuation of the Express team that has been part of the MASL since the beginning,” said Husted. “While there are lots of exciting improvements on the way for the Express, the team wants to remain connected to those fans that have been loyal to the team since 2011.”
The Baltimore Blast have garishly made use of the Maryland flag in their jersey designs, could a switch to Baltimore Mary Blast be in the offing? Or the Mesquite Tex Outlaws? A game of Tex vs. Cal has all the makings of a great throwback Western.
On Sunday the team announced the hiring of Edgar “Chebo” Martinez as their new bench boss. Martinez previously served as a conditioning coach for the Chicago Mustangs, San Diego Sockers, and the Mexican National Futbol Rapido Team, under the tutelage of successful coaches like Salvagio, Armando Gamboa, Rene Ortiz, and Luis Jaime Borrego. The roster is a work in progress. Seven returning players were announced on an abridged preseason roster and a number of players are awaiting visas, while several spots in the lineup are up for grabs.
Like the arena game itself, sometimes changes are on the fly.