Doug Miller: “We’ll bounce back. We trained for the past three and a half months. We’re that much better for training. Iron sharpens iron and I think we’ll be better off come 2021.” (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
By Michael Lewis
There was no doubt that head coach Doug Miller was disappointed when the Rochester Lancers’ had to pull the plug on their Major Arena Soccer League season due to COVID-19 complications.
But there was something more important than his or anyone’s feelings being hurt — everyone’s heath.
“You have to take everything in perspective, considering the situation that our country is in and the world is,” Miller said on the Soccer is a Kick in the Grass radio show Monday night. “Soccer is just a game. It’s part of that entertainment. Although disappointing, we have to keep things in perspective. It’s a bit unfortunate that we couldn’t get to figure a way to be able to play but everybody’s health is more important than playing a game and going out there.”
The Lancers were hoping to play indoors, but their home venue, the Dome Arena in Henrietta, N.Y., is being used as a vaccination facility.
“The guys are disappointed, but they understand,” Miller told co-hosts Andrew Battisti and Joe Sirianni. “We continue to train. We’re just shifting gears a little bit to the outdoor season with the NPSL. We’ll bounce back. We trained for the past three and a half months. We’re that much better for training. Iron sharpens iron and I think we’ll be better off come 2021.”
The outdoor Lancers traditionally start their National Premier Soccer League season in May as it runs through late June or July with the playoffs following. Rochester’s indoor season could start this November or December.
Miller said he believed the team will return to Aquinas Stadium to play its outdoor home games as the squad’s regular season schedule is being finalized.
“There’s new COVID in regard to restrictions being removed,” he said. “The league’s been working hard because we didn’t have a season last year, to make sure all the i’s are dotted, and t’s are crossed. Kayla [Kent-Moreira, president of operations] and Sam [SoccerSam Fantauzzo, team president] are working hard to make sure everything is perfect for the upcoming season.
“I truly believe that we’re at the end of this. We’re going to come out even stronger. Those who are prepared, for our new norm are ones that are going to be successful. I believe the Lancers are going to be leading the way in that.”
Miller had just completed a President’s Day session with 96 children at Glacier Ridge Sports Park who were “training hard and improving on their craft,” he said.
“We have a great coaching staff and we’ve been firing on all cylinders, making sure that we follow safety protocols,” he added.
Miller said that the kids playing soccer was the perfect tonic in contrast to being cooped up because of the pandemic.
“The situation with schools, not being in school, where we now know it’s the safest place for kids to be, we wanted to lead the way,” he said. “We wanted to provide kids, an outlet because they live in an artificial world right now, whether that’s on their phone or on their computer. They need to have interaction. Human beings need to have interaction. They need to have social capital. And we’ve done a really good job at that, following the signs and the data.
“We want to see kids playing as much soccer as possible. it’s the safest place for kids to be is to be that, playing sports.”