Doug Miller: “We’re anxious to get some games going.” (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)

Nobody can complain that the Rochester Lancers won’t be ready for their National Premier Soccer League season opener against Cleveland SC Sunday.

They’ve been training together since November. That’s right, some six months ago.

Actually, at that time the Lancers were preparing for the Major Arena Soccer League season until the team had to drop out of the league for the indoor season due to COVID-19 protocols in New York State.

Still, the Lancers kept on practicing and will welcome Cleveland SC to Aquinas Institute for the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday at 5 p.m. The Lady Lancers host Buffalo FC in their United Women’s Soccer opener at 2 p.m.

“We’re anxious to get some games going,” head coach Doug Miller said.

For good reason. The Lancers haven’t played since July 20, 2019, when they dropped a wild 6-4 decision to Cleveland SC in one of the wildest NPSL playoff games in history.

Given that the core of the roster has training together for so long, it can only help the team.

“I think the culture and the environment that Sam [Fantauzzo, team owner] and I have created with the NPSL and MASL teams, it provides that platform for guys who are good soccer players that can still get to competitive juices flowing and be competitive,” Miller said. “I think you know all the sacrifices that are made to make that happen. We’re very fortunate in Rochester to have a lot of good soccer players that have good jobs and get to come out and entertain.”

The team has several familiar faces back for this season, including defenders Jake Schindler, the team captain, Alex Harling and Dan Reger and midfielders Frankie Ciliberto and Lukas Fernandes and forward Andriy Demydiv, among others.

Miller said Fernandes’ quality” his finishing ability is going to be instrumental in our success.”

They will be supplemented by several younger players inbetween college seasons that have come through the Lancers’ and Miller’s programs.

“Now they’re sophomores and juniors in college that are going to come back and be able to put their stamp on, you know, playing in the NPSL,” said Miller, adding that he has a pool of 40 players from which to choose a gameday roster.

With New York State regulations limiting the amount of fans at games, the stadium will be partially filled.

“It’s going to be a different show than what it used to be in regards to the whole dress up, entertainment, part of it,” Miller said. “I think guys are will have an adjustment period. It wouldn’t it wouldn’t shock me if it’s a very tight game or it’s a very-high scoring game similar to the Cleveland game we lost the semifinal, 6-4, in double overtime.”