By Michael Lewis
Front Row Soccer Editor
Hmmm. This must be the season for the revival of North American Soccer League teams, past and present.
Of course, you all know about the Cosmos comeback.
Well, in upstate New York, the former owner of the Rochester Lancers want to revive the Rochester Lancers to play indoor soccer again.
Salvatore Fantauzzo — aka Soccer Sam — announced his intentions on his weekly Saturday soccer show — Kick This! earlier today.
Fantauzzo attended the Syracuse Silver Knights’ 5-4 loss to the Baltimore Blast at the Oncenter War Memorial in Syracuse Friday night and obviously was inspired to tell the world of his plans.
Here is what Soccer Sam told his listeners:
“Going to the game last night and meeting with people this week in different arenas throughout Rochester and meeting with friends of mine that were part of the Rochester Lancers, I’m going to tell you right now on this show right here, we are going to do everything in our power in the next two months to bring back the Rochester Lancers. We are going to bring back the Rochester Lancers, no matter what it takes.”
Soccer Sam was far from finished.
“I’ve tried. I’ve tried other sports. I’ve took up knitting,” he said. “I learned how to sew shoes. I need a fix. I need my indoor soccer fix.”
He said he had spoken to and met with former Lancers player and coach Doug Miller and to ex-team president C.J. Wilmot.
“So many sponsors want to bring this team back,” Soccer Sam said. “We’re going to do everything in our power to bring back the Rochester Lancers. Probably one of the greatest teams in the history of the city of Rochester, New York.
“Indoor soccer at its finest. We’re going to give you an update weekly here on Kick This! We’re going to do our best fans. We have solution to some issues that you all know about that listen to the show weekly or monthly or yearly. We have a solution.”
The issues included workman’s compensation and costs at the War Memorial in Rochester.
“I’m only going to bring back the Rochester Lancers to win a championship,” he said. “We’re just not doing it for the fun of it anymore. If we come back, we are winning a championship.”
Then Soccer Sam had some remorse about telling the world about his plans.
“I wasn’t supposed to break that news, Soccer Santino,” he told Santino in the radio studio. “Why did do it? Do I have issues?”
To which Santino replied, “You’re a passionate man.”
Soccer Sam revived the Lancers to play in the Major Indoor Soccer League in 2011. When that league went under, the team joined the Major Arena Soccer League, where it performed until 2015.
It shouldn’t all that surprising to Sam’s followers that he intends to revive the Lancers.
In an open letter to fans on the Kick This! website, Sam wrote about the new direction the MASL had taken:
“I’ve had the pleasure to meet several new groups that I hope join this great sport soon. I’m hoping that after the elections in November, someone steps up to help pro teams in NY state with Workman’s Comp issues. I would love to relaunch the Rochester Lancers next season.”
If any of you readers have followed me for a while, you know I have a soft spot in my heart for the Lancers.
They were the first professional soccer team I covered way, way, way back in the day of the original North American Soccer League.
I covered them for the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle for six years.
And you never forget your first love.
Good luck, Soccer Sam!
And make it so.