Salvatore “SoccerSam” Tuesday explained why the Rochester Lady Lancers have returned this year.

The team wasn’t supposed to be back.

Last July it was announced that Flower City Union, which is competing in its first National Independent Soccer Association season, had reached agreement with the club to operate the Lancers’ men’s and women’s teams. A part of the agreement was that Salvatore’s Old Fashioned Pizzeria would be the team’s title sponsor and that Fantauzzo and other members of the Lancers organization would get stock in return.

A few months ago, the Flower City Union said that it couldn’t afford to operate the Lancers’ men’s and women’s teams, which played in the National Premier Soccer League and United Women’s Soccer, respectively, according to Fantauzzo.

Fantauzzo said that part of the agreement was that team affiliations would revert back to the Lancers if Flower City did not operate the squads in its first three years.

When that happened, the Lancers still had commitments to compete in the NPSL and UWS in 2022.

UWS commissioner Joe Ferrera said that it needed the Lady Lancers to compete this season. Lancers president of soccer operations Kayla Klark Kent Moreira “made magic happen” to ensure the team would return this season, Fantauzzo said.

The Lady Lancers’ regular season is scheduled to begin in mid-May and run through July.

Head coach Adam Schwartz and his staff will handle the team while president of business operations Ashley King, Moreira and Fantauzzo will operate the business side.

NPSL managing director Cindy Spera allowed the Lancers to “go dark” and skip this season “since it was all so last minute,” Fantauzzo said.

While there won’t be an NPSL team this year, a Lancers’ men’s team – head coach Doug Miller’s Lancers Academy side – will competed in the United Premier Soccer League. Salvatore’s Old Fashioned Pizza, Palmers and Ide Family of Dealers will continue to sponsor the men’s squad, Fantauzzo said.

“I honestly didn’t want to hurt the new RNY FC [Rochester New York FC] and FCU by competing in the NPSL last minute this season.” he said. “We will watch and see what happens with both teams’ attendance and determine if our NPSL team will return or move to a city nearby with new owners.”

Rochester New York FC competes in MLS NEXT Pro.

Fantauzzo has been busy in the past week “supporting my MASL co-owners in the playoffs.”

He was in Baltimore on Friday and in Florida on Sunday and he will attend the Kansas City Comets-Dallas Sidekicks quarterfinal match in the Major Arena Soccer League playoffs on Tuesday night. Fantauzzo, who owners the indoor Lancers, said that he had hoped to attend at all semifinal games.

“I love this game, unfortunately more as a fan than an owner,” he said. “My goal was to retire from operating soccer teams last season. I’ve been doing this since 1980.

“My wife Linda and I purchased Inter Miami season tickets. I was looking forward to being a fan again with a beer and popcorn.”

FrontRowSoccer.com editor Michael Lewis has written a new book, ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. You can learn more about it or purchase it here:


HAVE YOU ORDERED IT YET?: Lancers book puts perspective on USA pro soccer history back in the day