Jeremy Ortiz played for the Lancers during the MASL2 season last year (Photo courtesy of the Lancers)
By Michael Lewis
The Rochester Lancers want to be well, the Rochester Lancers.
In other words, he wants to use as many players who were born or grew up in the Northwestern New York city or who had played for either the Rochester Rhinos or Lancers.
Lancers patriarch SoccerSam Fantauzzo made his point on the Soccer is a Kick in the Grass radio show.
He said: “Back when the original Lancers played, there were very few Rochester players on the team. When the Rhinos played, there were very few Rochester players on the team. When the Western New York Flash played, there was very few Rochester-born and raised players on the team. My goal, with the help of my coaching staff, my GM is to figure out a way to get as many local players as possible, given them a chance to show Rochester that they are superstars, they are special. They’ve worked their tails off all their lives to play this game and they’re going to have a chance to play the best of the best of the best. That’s my goal and I hope we can make it happen.”
Fantauzzo also has been in touch with former Rochester players. The clock is ticking. The season could kick off as early as the middle of November, so a team roster must be assembled within a month.
“I’ve been texting players I’ve been interested in all day today, telling them, ‘Hey we’re back, love to see you, love to have you,’ ” SoccerSam told hosts Andrew Battisti and Joe Sirianni said. “Like I said in the [FrontRowSoccer] piece, my goal is different than the history in Rochester, N.Y.”
It seems every MASL team has a former Lancer or Rhino on its squad. Many are already under contract, while others have made roots in cities.
“They all have reached out,” Fantauzzo said. “We’re going to do everything we can to bring back. We feel the Rochester players that played for us before are part of our family. So, we’re going to do everything we can to open up the door to them.
“We’re going to reach out to as many former Division One college players who are out there, guys who had tried out for us before but couldn’t make it work. We’ve got to figure out a way to make it work for everyone.”
Fantauzzo said he had talked to former Lancers indoor standout Mauricio Salles Monday. Another ex-Lancer, Elliot Fauske, reached out to him about joining the club in some capacity.
Salles has a contract with Utica City FC.
“He’s kind of waiting and seeing what happens,” Fantauzzo said. “A lot of the guys who were with us before — Andrew Hoxie and Mauricio, now have families. The families have adjusted to the different cities that they live in. And things are a little different than what they were in 2014-15, but if we could bring back some key players like that, it would be great. Last year we had success with Jeremy Ortiz coming back and Gary Boughton. They both will be welcomed back to the team and anybody else whoever played for the team in the past would be welcomed back.”
Head coach Doug Miller and his coaching staff will have the task to make the final determination on which players to sign.
“The phone hasn’t stopped,” he added. “We’re going to try to reunite as many people as possible to be a part of this and be competitive as possible. We only have a month to make this all happen. The first games could be as early as mid-November. so, before you know it, October is here. We’ve got to rock and roll and get things done. I think we’re going to be fine.”
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