By Michael Lewis
The Rochester Lancers returned to outdoor soccer Saturday, with not with one, but with two teams.
Not only will the Lancers perform in the men’s National Premier Soccer League this year, but the Lady Lancers will play in the United Women’s Soccer league this spring and summer as well.
Both teams were unveiled on Soccer Sam’s Kick This! radio show in Rochester Saturday morning and afternoon.
During a two-hour radio broadcast that also was streamed online, Soccer Sam — aka as Sam or Salvatore Fantuzzo lamented the fact that Rochester had gone from a three to one soccer team town with the Western New York Flash (National Women’s Soccer League) moving south to become the Carolina Courage and the Lancers indoor team forced to the sidelines because of rising insurance costs.
With the addition of the two new teams, Rochester is back at three. The Rochester Rhinos perform in the United Soccer League.
“We want to work with the Rhinos,” Soccer Sam said. “We want this to be Soccertown, USA, again!”
Added Lancers men’s general manager Marc Mandell: “It’s a great feeling. It’s great for Rochester. We love it.”
The squads will play at the Wegman’s Sports Complex at Aquinas Institute in Rochester, N.Y., mostly on Sunday afternoons.
The teams will kick off their home seasons with a Sunday, May 21 doubleheader at the WSC with the Lady Lancers hosting the New York Magic in a UWS match at 1 p.m., followed by the Lancers men against an opponent to be announced, at 4 p.m.
The outdoor Lancers traditionally had many, if not most of their games on Sundays.
“We are trying to do everything on our part to stick to that tradition,” Soccer Sam said.
The original Lancers competed in the American Soccer League from 1967-69 and in the original incarnation of the North American Soccer League from 1970-80.
The team returned as an indoor team, performing from the 2011-12 season through the 2014-15 campaign, most recently playing in the Major Arena Soccer League.
Loren Inglese, who is an assistant coach with the Monroe Community College women’s soccer team, was introduced as the Lady Lancers’ coach and general manager
MCC goalkeeper Caitie Broderick, a Spencerport, N.Y. native was announced as the Lady Lancers’ first player signing. Broderick said that she will attend the University of North Carolina-Wilmington next fall.
“She’s phenomenal,” Inglese said.
Added Broderick: “We have a lot of talent coming in and I’m excited playing with them.”
The Lady Lancers already had tryouts scheduled for Saturday afternoon. There will be tryouts at MCC in the future. Perspective players should visit www.RochesterLancers.com for updates.
Salvatore’s Old Fashioned Pizzeria, a well-known Rochester restaurant chain, will be the title sponsor of the Lady Lancers.
Former Rochester Rhinos and Lancers forward Doug Miller, who also coached the indoor team, will direct the men’s team. Miller was a lethal striker for the Rhinos and Lancers during his heyday.
Rochester Riverdogz owners have rebranded their NPSL club and that will be called the Lancers. Nick Mojsovski and Mandel are the team’s owners.
Antonio Manfut, who most recently played with the Syracuse Silver Knights in the MASL, was introduced as the Lancers men’s first signee. The 5-4, 140-lb. Manfut is a member of the U.S. national futsal team. He recorded 21 goals and nine assists in 20 MASL matches this past winter.
“He plays like he’s eight feet tall,” Miller said.
Former Roberts Wesleyan College standout defender Jake Schindler of Irondeqouit, N.Y. who also was a member of the indoor Lancers, also was announced as another player signed by the NPSL club.
“He’s one of the smartest players I’ve had the privilege of teaching and coach,” Miller said.
There may be a third team named the Lancers in Rochester as Miller revealed that the indoor side could return to the MASL. Miller said he hoped to have news in 60 days.
“We’re in the discovery pahse of trying to solve some issues in the past,” he said.
Some of those issues included high insurance costs. “We’re about 10 steps closer. We’re closer to thing we want to make reality.
The Lancers and Lady Lancers also announced season ticket prices — $100 for the eight doubleheaders, which will include free VIP parking, an invitation to a pair of private functions, a team t-shirt and free admission to away games.
Children and military personnel will be allowed into games for free.
“We want to pack the house,” Miller said.
For more information about the Lancers’ teams, visit www.RochesterLancers.com.