SoccerSam (right) and Doug Miller. (Photo courtesy of Salvatore “SoccerSam” Fantauzzo)
On Sunday, the Rochester Lancers and Lady Lancers will play their final home games ever at Charles A. Schiano Sr. Field at Aquinas Institute in Rochester, N.Y. Lancers owner Salvatore “SoccerSam” Fantauzzo shared his greatest memories in the game, indoor and out.
By Salvatore “SoccerSam” Fantauzzo
Special to FrontRowSoccer.com
My greatest indoor soccer memories:
* First game at the Blue Cross Arena. 3:33 – the clock stopped for a while. Injury. Everywhere I looked 3:33. That’s the time my Dad died next to me Feb. 5, 1995. He was there with me and proud!
* The firefighter game with 10k fans and Kansas City Comets getting a charter plane to show up on time. Watching the injured firefighter walk onto field while the whole arena was crying.
* The Abby game at BCA. Another 10k fans lined up for hours for Abby Wambach’s autograph. I was so proud of that Mercy High School star that I covered for years on my TV and radio show was now an international soccer star!
* The snowstorm with team and staff stranded in Chicago. Guys washing whatever clothes they had in the hotel pool with hotel guests enjoying the free show of half-naked soccer players. Lots of fun off the field, including the Pink concert in Milwaukee!
* M2, the brawl in Chicago and we advanced to LA and the time we all had off the field in LA was special!
* Dome Arena. Honoring my 20 loyal friends was special! The last game, Gary Boughton retirement game and our first win back in the big leagues was memorable.
My greatest Rhinos memories:
* Rochester Rhinos. Having the privilege to save the team in 2008. My amazing staff proved that the stadium could work with 8k fans a game for two seasons and we brought back the Rhinos Frontier Party to the Marina Auto Stadium!
* I now realize 25 years later I have been soccer blessed! I was just a fan that loved the game.
* 1996 was a special year and I was able to work with three Rochester sports icons.
* Steve Donner. He was the best in the business. He brought his lacrosse and hockey staff over to train our soccer staff/fans on how to focus on every minor detail. Sales and production meetings were like we operated the U.S. government!
* Chris Economides. He taught me to laugh daily and be relentless on getting great players to join our team. I had the honor to work with and cover the greatest players of that era thanks to Christo!
* Frank Duross. His vison and drive gave our city a soccer stadium and hockey facility that generations have enjoyed. Political leaders failed to understand how lucky Rochester was that this Utica businessman gave us his time, money and energy!
2008 – 2009
* Rob Clark. A banker, Clark believed in me and not the outsiders that didn’t understand our city and our Rhinos history. We turned that baby around with lots of cocktails every day for lunch! I regret taking a break and not fighting hard enough to come back and save my beloved Rhinos!
* Rich Randall. He was the brains of our Rhinos run. He came back to help us start the Lancers. His calmness complimented my craziness as we put together an amazing team on and off the field. Lots of laughs trying to win games and fans watching our stressed-out investors pace at our home games.
* Doug Miller. When I told my family at Sunday dinner that we signed Doug to play for us my son Sal almost peed his pants. From player to coach Doug’s passion is infectious. His soccer resume and accomplishments make him the most credible youth coach and leader in our community!
* Joe Guiliano. Every road trip was an adventure. We would have cocktails before every game and after a while, bar managers at different arenas had our drinks ready. Watching the other pros in the press box reaction of our behavior was priceless.
* Ashley Maria King Solomianko. We worked alone for years before we launched our National Premier Soccer League and United Women’s Soccer teams. She even ate alone at a Doug Miller meeting once. Ashley did the job of six and made it all happen. Such a perfectionist. My Maria!
* Kayla Klark Kent-Moreira. She came back and saved us from the lollipops that wanted to run things. Kayla pushed the return of indoor soccer and the Dome Arena plus had two babies. We call her Mama Moneys because she watches over the money like a mother hen.
Thanks again to everyone I ever worked with in soccer, and all the fans that supported the Rhinos and Lancers and all the players!
Feel The Kick For Life! ss❤️⚽️