By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

With the Rochester Lancers’ two outdoor teams ready to go into the sunset after their respective seasons end this year, team owner Salvatore “SoccerSam” Fantauzzo says that he hopes the indoor side will return this fall.

That is, if the Dome Arena in Henrietta, N.Y. is available to the team.

Fantauzzo said on the Soccer is a Kick in the Grass radio show Monday night that he will know for sure on Aug. 1. He said that the facility has a deal with New York State as a COVID-19 vaccination center. The state’s lease with the Dome Arena runs through Oct. 31.

“If they don’t renew then we definitely will have an indoor season at the Dome Arena,” Fantauzzo told co-hosts Andrew Battisti and Joe Sirianni.

The Lancers owner was hopeful the team will return after talking to Dome general manager Jeff Calkins last week.

“He feels confident that Oct. 31 the state probably will not renew,” Fantauzzo said. “So, Nov. 1, the dome arena will be back open and start having concerts and comedians and all that. That’s the Lancers’ home base, and three more years left of my lease there, so I feel good about that.”

Fantauzzo added that “I’m not sure how involved I’ll be, other than it will be the Lancers. And I’ll hopefully be able to take a backseat to it and kind of enjoy the games like you guys do and then take notes and eat popcorn and have a couple brewskis.”

He has a Plan B and a Plan C.

“The Lancers indoor team will be around,” he said. “We’re going to have some surprises for the indoor Lancers. We have contacted a group in Buffalo about maybe playing there playing there if the Dome isn’t available. We also talked to Tommy Tanner [Utica City FC general manager], we would play there for one season until the Dome Arena issue was settled, but I think all the indications, tell me based on what’s going on right now with COVID that we will be able to play it at the dome arena as long as they open it

On Monday, Fantauzzo was on a league-wide conference call with the new Major Arena Soccer League leadership – chairman Shep Messing, commissioner Keith Tozer and president of media JP Dellacamera.

“It was like your soccer dream with these indoor soccer legends that are bringing indoor soccer to the next level,” he said. “So, I’m really excited about indoor soccer.”

The Lancers called the Dome home during the 2018-19 M2 season and the 2019-20 MASL campaign before the league shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fantauzzo was talking 24 hours after his Sunday bombshell announcement that he had sold the Lancers and Lady Lancers to the Flower City Union, which will begin competing in the National Independent Soccer Association next spring. The Lancers play in the National Premier Soccer League, the Lady Lancers in United Women”s Soccer.

He met with the Union ownership and St. John Fisher College management group.

“I really feel great about the organization,” Fantauzzo said. “I think they have the money behind them. They have the stadium that now. They’re going be the exclusive tenants at the soccer stadium downtown. The mayor’s promised to put some money in the building, which is huge. So, I think between the college and Mark Washo {managing director and Chief Commercial Officer} and the money guys behind them, I feel really confident about the Flower City Union. So, I’m going to throw in the towel for outdoor soccer, which I just did just for the good of the game, and I’m going to focus more on indoor.”

Last week the Rochester Rhinos, dormant since the 2017 USL Championship season, made a big splash when they announced they would return to professional soccer in 2022. English international striker Jamie Vardy joined the ownership group, although the team hasn’t announced which league it would play in.

Fantauzzo said he reached out to Rochester-based owners David and Wendy Dworkin, telling the former that ”he’s my hero to pull that off. It’s huge news for soccer. I think it’d be probably a great reality show to see an English Premier League star come here and try to turn around a franchise, but I already kind of committed to the Flower City Union.”