By Michael Lewis
Are you ready for some indoor futbol?
Well, the Rochester Lancers certainly are.
Lancers patriarch Soccer Sam Fantauzzo said on his Saturday morning radio show, Kick This!, that the Lancers will play indoors in Major Arena Soccer League 2 this winter.
The team has received verbal commitments from MASL commissioner Joshua Schaub and league founder and vice president of business development Kevin Milliken.
“The indoor Rochester Lancers will be back,” Fantauzzo stated in his final segment of the show.
His audience then heard a cymbal making noise followed by applause.
The team will play six dates on a Fridays and Saturday in January, February and March at the Dome Arena in Henrietta, N.Y. in suburban Rochester, Fantauzzo said. Those dates already have been reserved at the facility. The playoffs will be held at the end of March.
“It’s verbal, it’s not in writing but I have been assured by both commissioner of the league, Kevin Milliken that the Lancers have been approved,” Fantauzzo said. “The Lancers will be back. We’ll know more information on who our opponents will be, how many flights we’re going to have to take or bus rides. It’s going to be fun. You’ll love it.”
The Lancers will convert the Dome Arena into a 2,500-seat soccer facility for M2, which is the MASL second division.
Fantauzzo said the team hopes to make an official announcement of the Lancers’ return at one of its title sponsors later this month or in November.
The club already has three title sponsors — a car dealership, a food vendor and a “my favorite pizzeria,” said Fantauzzo, who was referring to his company, Salvatore’s Old Fashioned Pizzeria.
Lancers president Doug Miller, who guided the indoor Lancers in the past, is talking to a potential coach, according to Fantauzzo.
“He may be talking to himself,” he quipped. “I don’t know if he has a mirror in his bedroom.”
Miller is talking to five former indoor Lancers players about returning to the team. Fantauzzo wouldn’t mention their names, but he teased his audience a bit.
“There’s top goalies coming back, at least two, top defenders, at least two, top forwards coming back, at least one, maybe two,” he said. “I think you fans will be surprised on the quality of play of this team that Doug is putting together.”
Fantauzzo said he was working hard to bring the “band” back together. That included the Lancers Dancers, Lancer Louie, the team mascot, TV-radio announcer Joe Guiliano and other members of the front office that worked for the team when it called the Blue Cross Arena in downtown Rochester its home. Preisdent of Operations Ashley Maria King and director of operations and CFO Kayla Kent-Moreira will run the show off the field.
Soccer Sam also mentioned he wanted music director Phil Mercado, public address announcer Rocky Perrotta and game day producer Jill Rizzo to work during the indoor season.
Mark Mandell is general manager and Nick Mojsovski is assistant GM.
They have been part of the staff of the out Lancers and Lady Lancers, who perform in the National Premier Soccer League and United Women’s Soccer, respectively.
At the present time, M2 has 11 teams lined up, besides the Lancers, who probably will compete in the Eastern Conference.
In that conference, the Chicago Mustangs, Cincinnati Swerve, Colorado Blizzard, Muskegon Risers and Detroit Waza Flo will compete.
The Arizona Impact, Colorado Inferno FC, Las Vegas Knights, New Mexico Runners, Ontario Fury II and San Diego Sockers 2 comprise the Western Conference.
The Lancers competed in the Major Indoor Soccer League and MASL from 2011-2015 before shutting down due to high workman’s compensation costs.