By Michael Lewis
It’s not necessarily a matter of whether the Rochester Lancers will return as an indoor soccer team, it’s a matter of where they will play their games.
Lancers co-owner and head coach Doug Miller told the Kick This! radio show Saturday that the team will decide what venue it will call home this winter in the Major Arena Soccer League – the Blue Cross Arena or the Dome Arena.
“For us, it’s now solidifying that venue and once that happens we’ll be able to make a huge announcement,” Miller said. “I’m excited for it.”
The two venues the Lancers are considering are vastly different. There is the Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester, N.Y. while the Dome Arena is in suburban Henrietta, south of the city.
“The t’s were crossed, the i’s are needed to be dotted,” Miller told host Andrew Battisti, who subbed for Soccer Sam this week. “We’ve got to find that. Once we get it, hopefully, this week, we can get one step closer to that moving forward.
“That is the last missing piece of the puzzle for us. Once we have that, we’ll be prepared to make an announcement.”
The Dome Arena, which recently was upgraded, has a seating capacity of 4,086. The team would be the first or second tenant, which will help in acquiring the best playing dates.
The Blue Cross Arena holds 11,200. The Lancers would be No. 4 in pecking order behind the Rochester Americans (hockey), Rochester Nighthawks (lacrosse) and Rochester RazorSharks (pro basketball) The arena also saves other dates for concerts. So, the team would be at the mercy of the other team’s schedules and desires.
“BCA is awesome,” Miller said. “But the venue is so big and there is no urgency to purchase tickets to get people behind the Lancers because they can always get a ticket late. They can walk up and get a ticket.
“The Dome Arena is a new venue. It’s much smaller, an energized environment for us. Ther turf and boards, we are worried about getting that solidified there. The Dome Arena is totally renovated and an incredible light show that could make it very energetic for the fans.”
So the Lancers’ management must make some tough decisions in the next week.
“Seeing both environments, we know what the BCA brings but we are also trying to figure out what the Dome Arena has to offer in regards to seeing a full completed picture putting the boards up, knowing what that’s going to entail,” Miller said.
A decision would have to be made by Aug. 15, according to a source, because the league needs to plan a schedule for the 2017-18 season.
The Lancers likely will play against old foes such as Baltimore, Syracuse and Harrisburg.