ROCHESTER, N.Y. – In a little more than two weeks, something wonderful in soccer will transpire that has been nearly two years in the waiting.
The Rochester Lancers will return to the great outdoors.
In fact, not one, but two Lancers teams will grace the field at Aquinas Institute on Sunday, May 16.
The Lancers women will kick off their United Women’s Soccer season against FC Buffalo at 2 p.m. Later on, the men will face Cleveland SC in their National Premier Soccer League season opener at 5 p.m.
Both teams haven’t played since 2019 because last year’s campaigns were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The teams will play the first of five doubleheaders at the schools, with other regular season twin bills planned for May 23, June 13, 20 and 27. All women’s matches are set for 2 p.m., the men’s at 5 p.m.
Playoffs are scheduled for July if either or both teams book postseason spots.
Due to New York State restrictions only 200 fans are allowed at the games. All spectators must wear masks and do social distancing in the stands.
Lancers owner Salvatore “SoccerSam” Fantauzzo was hopeful the state will loosen the reins on sporting events, especially ones that are outside in the fresh air.
“We are waiting for [Gov. Andrew] Cuomo to change things,” Fantauzzo said. “We hope by May 15, he allows stadiums to have full capacity.”
At the current capacity, the Lancers won’t be able to get all of their 1,200 season ticket holders into the stadium. The club also has more than 30 sponsor accounts that want to share tickets for Rochester games.
The Lancers plan to announce more updates on their ticket plans May 1.
“I’m hoping things go back to normal,” Fantauzzo said. “It’s all crazy to me. Home Depot, Loews, Walmart, airports and other service thousands of people per day with no temperature checks or proof of COVID tests. It’s not fair to New York sports teams.”
But its full speed ahead for the men’s and women’s squads.
“Our players, coaches and staff are waiting patiently to find out what our state will allow,” Fantauzzo said. “For now teams are focused on getting ready to win outdoor championships!”