SoccerSam is Salvatore Fantauzzo, owner of the Rochester Lancers is the founder and host of the Kick This! radio show on 1280 WHTK in Rochester, N.Y. Saturdays at 11 a.m.
Special to FrontRowSoccer.com
The 2020 Major Arena Soccer League regular season is over and it was an amazing season.
Before I share my choices, I want to thank each and every fan, sponsor, owner, staff and team member, coach and especially each and every player.
I didn’t miss many games and my picks are based on accomplishments, opponents, roster support and most importantly the person representing.
I hope everyone covering the MASL considers offering their list.
So, presenting the Kick This! 2020 MASL awards.
Team of the year
St Louis Ambush. Shelly Clark with her ownership group and staff did an amazing job on the field but more importantly off the field. In a large sports city they drew amazing crowds each game. Since the 80’s teams have been able to win by bringing in money players but selling seats and sponsors is the hardest part of this business. Congrats Ambush!
Second favorite, Rochester Lancers. My two girls filled the Dome Arena each game with zero local media support and a 90 percent all rookie team. Thank you, Rochester and Ashley Maria King and Kayla Klark Kent!
Coach of the year
Clay Roberts from the Florida Tropics. Clay is the only coach in the history of the indoor organization. Roberts did an amazing job during the off season and worked hard to keep new personalities and egos united. First place in the East and probably could of won the 2020 Ron Newman Cup.
Close second, Pat Healey from the Harrisburg Heat. With a very young team Pat and his guys were fighting hard in the powerful East for that fourth playoff spot. Watching Pat turn around the Heat in a short second season was special.
Offensive player of the year
Leo Gibson from the Kansas City Comets. Leo led a young team with double duty as head coach and second in points with 60 and first in assists with 31. Leo has been extremely loyal to the Comets and is one of the few league legends left and makes scoring seem easy.
Close second, Franck Tayou from the Ontario Fury. Our country and sport only recognize one King!
Defender of the year
Jake Schindler from the Utica City FC. Fast, strong, smart, smooth and underrated for years. Jake had 10 goals and 9 assists. Jake doesn’t rest after practice and juggles more than any pro player I know. Utica gave up 25 goals to Soles in 2 games without Schindler controlling the defense with his calmness.
Close second, Drew Ruggles from the Florida Tropics. The team allowed only 86 goals this season under Drew’s leadership. He also receives the SoccerSam best hair award!
Rookie of the Year
The entire Lancers team: Most teams work in one or two rookies per season. The Lancers played with 14 rookies per game. Anthony Rozzano lead the rookies with nine goals and 10 assists. These rookies signed hundreds of autographs with a smile after each home game no matter what the final score was.
Close second, Uros Momic from Utica City. MoMo looked like a veteran each game with 13 goals and three assists and lots of defensive work.
Goalie of the Year
William “The Wall” Banehene from the Harrisburg Heat. The other top keepers in the MASL didn’t share as many games. Will played 14 of 21 games this season and I’m sure his league stats would of been different. Willie B also scored a few goals and the hardest last name to pronounce in our league.
Second, all the rest of the MASL goalies. Toughest position in the sport with guys blasting shots at your face and body feet away and you guys landing on turf with ice and cement as a your cushion below.
Owner of the year
Ed Hale from the Baltimore Blast. Known as the “Godfather” of indoor soccer. Ten-time champions and has been doing this before most players and fans were born. This season’s annual Blast awards ceremony was a tribute to him by all the inductees.
Second, Phil Salvaggio from the San Diego Sockers. Phil’s second-place Sockers are one of the three teams to officially clinch a playoff spot this season. A Tequila guy, he does a lot behind the scenes to help several teams and our entire league.
Ian Bennett from the Milwaukee Wave. Ian helped the Wave with its 14-6 record, 44 goals and seven assists but more importantly is a huge fan favorite helping the Wave with its amazing attendance for his hard work on and off the field. One of the few household names in our sport.
Close second, Max Ferdinand from the Wave. Max had 17 goals and 27 assists and never had a bad game. Ian and Max are today’s dynamic duo helping entertain the city of Milwaukee and our entire league.
The new turf in Turlock, the commitment from Dr. Panos and Chris Economides in Florida, the heart of each SeaWolves and Lancers player, the GQ look of the entire Ambush coaching staff, Serge trying to build our sport in Canada, the new MASL Primetime, Ryan and his refs, the food in the Utica suites, the Dallas rivalry, Milwaukee’s Van waving his scarf, Craig and the Sockers broadcast, the smoothness of Nick in Tacoma, the red sauce turf in Mexico, Greg Suttie covering our sport and all you crazy social media peeps expressing your love and concerns daily. ❤️⚽️