By Michael Lewis
The Rochester Lancers won’t be playing indoor this winter, although they say they will make every effort to return to the Major Arena Soccer League for the 2018-19 season.
Lancers co-owner Soccer Sam Fantauzzo confirmed Wednesday evening that the club could not obtain better playing dates at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y. The Lancers were going to be scheduled on several NFL Sundays and weekdays. Team officials asked BCA and City of Rochester officials to free up dates that they have been holding for possible concerts.
“No indoor for this year,” Fantauzzo said in an email. “We hoped to get something from the city by 5 p.m. today.”
The MASL had extended deadlines several times to the Lancers, whose latest drop-dead date was Tuesday to get the proper paperwork to the league.
“We are way past deadline and it’s not fair to the league or our fans,” Fantauzzo said. “We will focus on outdoor teams and we hope to announce the indoor Lancers home for next season before the new year.”
Fantauzzo said the team will try to work out a lease at the Dome Arena in suburban Henrietta or at the Rochester Institute of Technolo
He credited team president and head coach Doug Miller for the hard work and time he put in on the project.
“Doug Miller worked extremely hard to make this happen for this year but we kept on hitting posts at every arena,” he added.
In an email entitled “Thank You!” to MASL Josh Schaub and club owners, Fantauzzo said he appreciated everyone’s patience in the matter.
“Team MASL, thank you for your patience and I’m sorry this didn’t work out,” he wrote. “We would of never started this process knowing the BCA was our only option.
“The Dome seemed like the perfect fit. New owners made promises and then realized they couldn’t afford the upgrades we needed.
“The BCA is a challenge with dates and the size of the building. Dealing with SMG management and City officials is a challenge.”
In the MASL email, Fantauzzo said that his Kick This! radio show “can be a weekly infomercial for the league and MASL 2. We can run league & team title sponsor commercials and more.
“Again, I apologize if we let you down and delayed schedules.
“Have a great season and thanks again!”
The Lancers played three seasons in the Major Indoor Soccer League before joining the MASL for the 2014-15 season. The team ceased operations after the 2014-15 season.
The organization returned to the great outdoors earlier this year with a men’s team in the National Premier Soccer League and a women’s squad in United Women’s Soccer.