The Rochester Lancers will return to indoor soccer in 2023 as the Lancers2, which will compete in Major Arena Soccer League’s second division – M2, the organization announced on Wednesday night.

“Our 100 percent focus will be pro player development,” said Lancers owners SoccerSam Fantauzzo said in a statement.

With the help of current M2 boss Chris Economides, Fantauzzo brought indoor pro soccer to the Blue Cross Arena in 2011. The team continued at the Dome Arena, until COVID-19 shut down the 2020 season.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Lancers to M2. The sport overall is better with franchises like the Lancers and owners like SoccerSam,” Economides said in a statement “Sam’s passion for the sport, as well as his enthusiasm and knowledge of how franchises best operate, is truly unmatched. The Lancers2 will serve as the foundation for a major and exciting expansion of M2 in the coming seasons.”

The Lancers started in the American Soccer League in 1967 before joining the North American  Soccer League in 1970. Fantauzzo revived the team in 2011 in the Major Indoor Soccer League.

Rochester competed in M2 during the 2019 season, finishing third. the team returned to the MASL in 2020, but was forced to take a sabbatical due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Lancers’ dynamo duo of Ashley Maria King and Kayla Kent-Moreira, who helped launch the MASL and M2 indoor Lancers and the Lancers (National Premier Soccer League) and the Lady Lancers (United Women’s Soccer), will return as president of soccer operations and team owner, and president of business operations, respectively.

“Our focus will be on player development, and not our usual soccer show.” King said.

Several former Lancers players have become stars in the MASL.

“We plan to help develop the next generation of indoor stars, and kick open doors of opportunity.” Fantauzzo said.

M2 will field 14-teams this season, with an emphasis on elevated standards for facilities, broadcasts and team and league operations. A final divisional alignment and 2022-23 season schedule will be announced later this month. Teams will play a 12-game schedule, six home and six away, leading up to the annual championship Weekend in the spring. The San Diego Sockers 2 are the defending league champions.

The Lancers2 will play at Rochester Regional Health Total Sports Experience in East Rochester, N.Y. The facility is owned by Rochester Business Icon Andy Gallina.

“Mr. Gallina and director Jamie Hammond at TSE helped us introduce indoor pro soccer to Rochester in 2011, it’s great to be back to our home base.” Fantauzzo said.

“We are happy the Lancers are back on the field and look forward to providing a great venue and experience for their games and training,” Hammond said.

All Lancers2 home games will stream live on LancersTV produced by Joel Balthaser and his returning team.

“Our broadcasts will be top notch with the hope to expose our local future star players worldwide,” Kent-Moreira said.

The team will play six away games starting in January 2023 and six home games in Rochester starting at the end of February. The M2 league schedule will be announced soon.

“Lancers2 will create an Indoor Pro soccer environment at TSE with a unique ’boutique arena’ feel for our exclusive invite-only season ticket holders, sponsors and community leaders,” Kent-Moreira said.

The Lancers2 will announce their coaching staff and key returning players and staff members in early November. The team hopes to work with nearby MASL teams in Utica, Baltimore and Harrisburg.

“Nothing in soccer satisfies me more than seeing one of our local players going to the next level of this great game,” Fantauzzo said.