By Michael Lewis
The Rochester Lancers have been approved to play in the Major Arena Soccer League for the 2017-18 season, although they are still looking for an arena to call home.
They hope to have found one in the Gene Polisseni Center on the campus of the Rochester Institute of Technology, according to Lancers co-owner Soccer Sam Fantauzzo.
The league has approved a letter from the team’s attorney, Soccer Is A Kick In The Grass, a weekly radio soccer show in Rochester, N.Y. reported Monday night. The show’s co-hosts, Andrew Battisti and Joe Sirianni made the announcement after speaking with Fantauzzo prior to the show.
Fantauzzo confirmed that information Tuesday morning.
The Polisseni Center, a state-of-the art, multi-purpose facility that opened in 2014, is home to the RIT ice hockey team. It has a seating capacity of 4,000, with another a standing room area for another 300 people.
The Lancers are awaiting open dates from RIT, which is located just south of the city.
“If not this season, next for sure,” Fantauzzo said.
According to the RIT website, the 112,400-square foot multi-purpose facility includes a club seating section exclusively located behind RIT’s bench, a club lounge, an upscale, full service hospitality area featuring a full buffet and cash bar each game, six luxury suites and a VIP player experience box next to the benches, two full service concession stands and multiple mobile kiosks throughout the concourse.
The Lancers had hoped to play at either the downtown Blue Cross Arena or in the Dome Arena in suburban Henrietta. The team would be fourth or fifth in the pecking order for dates at the BCA and the Dome Arena can’t obtain bleachers in time for the start of the season.
MASL commissioner Joshua Schaub said he was not in a position to comment on the Lancers’ situation at this time.
“We will have more news this week regarding all of your questions,” he said in email. “I am just tying up some loose ends.”
The Lancers, who played in the American Soccer League and North American Soccer League from 1967-80, returned as an indoor team for the 2010-11 Major Indoor Soccer League season. They ceased operations from the 2014-15 MASL season. In the spring, they returned to the great outdoors with a men’s team in the National Premier Soccer League and with a women’s team, the Lady Lancers, in United Women’s Soccer.