Sockers Win Fourth Straight PASL Championship

PASL Championship Ron Newman Cup Logo

3/11/13 – SAN DIEGO–The San Diego Sockers are four-time defending champions of the Professional Arena Soccer League, cementing their position as a dynastic force in the sport of indoor soccer.

Chiky Luna broke a 6-6 tie on a deflected goal with 4:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, and Brian Farber’s empty netter clinched the PASL Ron Newman Cup championship for San Diego, cementing an 8-6 victory over the Detroit Waza Flo in front of 3,336 at the Valley View Casino Center. Luna’s rebound bid from the right wing caromed off the back of Detroit defender Scotty Wright and into the back of the net, giving Chiky game-winning goals in both the semifinal and final game.

“Two days in a row. I can’t even describe it,” said Luna, a Vista grad who netted four goals in the playoffs, “I’m working as hard as I can, and luckily I’m getting some chances. The ball’s been breaking my way and I feel very fortunate.”

Three-time PASL MVP Kraig Chiles scored his 14th and 15th goals of the playoffs and added an assist, finishing the year with 71 goals in 20 total games. Eduardo Velez had a goal and two assists and SDSU rookie Raymundo Reza contributed key two-way play, finishing with a goal and assist while working hard to win balls in the backfield.

 Detroit refused to let San Diego pull away even after the Sockers built 4-2, 5-3, and 6-4 leads.

Aaron Byrd, Miki Djerisilo, and Costea Decu each scored to keep Detroit in the game.  Decu’s second goal of the game, a spectacular play in a weekend full of highlight reel material, tied the game briefly at 6-6 before Luna’s game-winner.

After conceding the game’s opening goal on a long run by Detroit’s Nik Djokic, the Sockers found themselves trailing 1-0 after the first quarter. They gained inspiration when 43-year-old Paul Wright, a midfielder in his 24th year of professional indoor soccer, made a pure run through the midfield, accepting a through ball from Velez and beating Waza keeper Joe Kapinos to level the score at 1-1.

Wright, who announced his retirement on Facebook prior to the game, was introduced wearing the first jersey he ever donned with the San Diego Sockers, from the 1990-91 season. Paul finishes his illustrious career with seven indoor championships and a probable future place in the San Diego Hall of Champions.

“I dreamt about this all year long,” said Wright of finishing his career with another championship, “We worked hard for it as a team, and this is how I wanted it to end. To have it end the way we planned it all year long, it’s just the best thing in the world.”

Reza’s goal, running in on right wing to convert a Chiles’ centering header, gave San Diego a 2-1 lead. Detroit took advantage of a defensive clear by Chris Toth with five seconds remaining in the half, as First-Team All-PASL defender Costea Decu ripped in a restart goal, tying the game 2-2 going into intermission.

Anthony Medina’s power play goal with 8:45 in the third quarter gave the Sockers a 3-2 lead, and Chiles’ second of the game 41 seconds later put San Diego ahead by two for the first time on the night. Detroit quickly answered back on Miki Djerisilo’s shot from the right edge of the crease, and the Sockers protected a 4-3 lead into the fourth quarter.

An increasingly physical game saw the Waza whistled for a tripping call late in the third quarter, a blue card penalty converted into a goal by Eduardo Velez, who half volleyed home a Susi pass on right angle to put the Sockers ahead 5-3. After Detroit’s Aaron Byrd and Chiles exchanged goals, Detroit mounted their last furious rally of the night. Djerisilo and Decu scored two minutes apart to equalize at 6-6.

Twenty-one seconds later, Luna’s bid found the back of Wright, the back of the net, and the Sockers were on their way to their fourteenth major indoor title.

Detroit, despite falling short of the ultimate goal, enjoyed its best season in their five year history.  The Waza Flo went 14-2 in the regular season, swept Cincinnati in the Division Finals series, and eliminated a Rio Grande Valley Flash team who was riding a 10-game winning streak.

Most importantly they captured the US Open trophy from San Diego, handing the Sockers their first loss in regulation time since 2010. 

About Professional Arena Soccer League and Premier Arena Soccer League

 

The PASL is a professional league which began play on October 25, 2008.  The league, which just concluded its fifth season, consists of US teams, the CMISL (Canada), and the LMFR (Mexico).  The Dallas Sidekicks, Harrisburg Heat, Las Vegas Legends, Rockford Rampage, Sacramento Surge, Real Phoenix, Chicago Mustangs, Texas Strikers, and Rio Grande Valley Flash have been added for the 2012/13 season.  The Tulsa Revolution have been added for the 2013/14 season.  The PASL-Premier just completed its 15th season as the nation’s top amateur arena soccer league.  The PASL and PASL-Premier are members of Federacion Internacional de Futbol Rapido (FIFRA).
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MISL Names Top Players of 2012-13 Season

TAMPA, Fla.The Major Indoor Soccer League honored its top performers of the season today, announcing the Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, Defender of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year for the 2012-13 season. The winners were announced at an awards ceremony in Independence, Missouri, site of tomorrow’s first leg of the 2013 MISL Championship Series featuring the Missouri Comets and the Baltimore Blast.
MISL-AwardWinners0313.jpgMISL award winners were selected through a vote by MISL team management and select media members.
Most Valuable Player – Doug Miller, Rochester Lancers
Miller’s record-breaking season at the age of 43 proved the veteran still had much to offer the game. The first player in the current era of the MISL to surpass 100 points, finishing with 102, Miller also set a record for goals in a season with 44 as he led the Lancers to within one win of the playoffs. Miller also finished the season with five game-winning goals, and tied an MISL record with a six-goal game against Missouri
Rookie of the Year – Luan Oliveira, Milwaukee Wave
Quickly becoming an integral part of Keith Tozer’s squad after being suggested as a signing by Wave teammate and childhood friend Marcio Leite, Oliveira led all rookies, and the Wave, with 68 points. The Brazilian averaged a goal per game in his first season in the league, with a three-goal, two-assist night against Rochester a highlight of his first season.
Coach of the Year – Danny Kelly, Baltimore Blast
Taking the honor for the third time in four seasons, Kelly led the Blast to the top of the MISL standings in a season that saw the Blast open the season with nine consecutive victories, and end it on a six-game winning streak that allowed it to edge the Milwaukee Wave for the regular season championship. With some key offseason departures, Kelly quickly integrated the new faces in his squad seamlessly as the Blast continued their tradition of excellence.
Defender of the Year – Mike Lookingland, Baltimore Blast
Lookingland was selected for the second consecutive season after a standout two-way campaign that saw him record 49 points, make 35 blocks and commit only 16 fouls. A master of positioning in his defensive end, the Blast’s captain also showed an uncanny knack for knowing when to join the attack, and proved crucial on special teams as he led the side with four power-play goals.
Goalkeeper of the Year – Nick Vorberg, Milwaukee Wave
Claiming the honor for the second time in three seasons, Vorberg was a standout in goal for the league’s best defense. Vorberg faced an average of 18.5 shots per game, finishing with an outstanding .812 save percentage, while also leading the league with a 7.76 points-against average. In his 14 regular-season appearances, Vorberg never conceded more than five goals.

Baltimore and Missouri will face off in the best-of-three 2013 MISL Championship Series starting Thursday at the Independence Events Center in Missouri (8:35 p.m. ET, MISLNation.com), with the second leg set for Saturday at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore (7:35 p.m. ET, MISLNation.com). A deciding mini-game will be played immediately following Game 2 if needed.

U.S. Open For Arena Soccer Streak Snapped By Waza

3/2/13 – DETROIT – The Detroit Waza won their first major championship, edging out the San Diego Sockers 7-6, to capture the U.S. Open Cup for Arena Soccer before a sold out crowd of 1,256 at the Melvindale Civic Arena.

In the process Detroit handed the Sockers their first loss in regulation time since 12/18/10.  The Sockers recently had a US Professional Team Sports record of 48 straight wins snapped in an overtime loss at Dallas.

Aaron Byrd’s goal from a sharp angle at 13:13 of the fourth quarter proved to be the game winner as Detroit held off a late surge to seal the title.

The US Open tournament is the largest national arena soccer tournament in the country open to all US pro and amateur teams.

The Sockers have won three straight PASL titles and had won the last three US Open championships. San Diego defeated Detroit 10-7 at home in last year’s Ron Newman Cup Final and the Waza had been plotting their revenge ever since.

Given the chance to host the Sockers on their own turf, Detroit seized the opportunity.  San Diego took a 1-0 lead on a Kraig Chiles restart goal, but it would be the Sockers only lead of the game.

In a back-and-forth game, Detroit took four leads only to be matched each time by the Sockers.  In all, the game was tied five times.

When Miki Djerisilo dribbled around Eduardo Velez and scored at 8:14 of the fourth quarter to give Waza a 6-4 lead, it looked like Detroit might be able to pull away.  But the Sockers rallied with goals by Raymundo Reza and Velez, the latter coming with just 3:00 showing on the clock.

Detroit got a break when San Diego was whistled for its sixth foul with 2:29 left in regulation, putting Waza on the powerplay.

Detroit’s Ricardo Lopes and Costea Decu patiently pinged the ball back and forth several times looking to create an opening. Finally, Lopes hit Byrd in the corner, where he launched a shot between Sockers goalkeeper Riley Swift and the near post.

Detroit won’t have long to enjoy their victory.  The Waza will face the Rio Grande Valley Flash, winners of 10 in a row, in the PASL Ron Newman Cup Semifinals Sunday in San Diego.  The winner of that game will face the winner of the Sockers and the Las Vegas Legends, on Monday, possibly setting up a rematch of last year’s final.

Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame name 2013 Induction Class

Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame Logo
3/4/13 –  The Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame today announced its 2013 class, marking the induction of five players and one coach.  Preki, Kai Haaskivi, Zoltan Toth, Brian Quinn, Mike Stankovic, and Gordon Jago were added to the 12 members who were inducted in the inaugural class.


Members of the selection committee include Ron Newman, Kenny Cooper, Al Miller, Otto Orf, and current MISL coaches Keith Tozer and Kim Roentved.  


The initial classes of inductees will focus on the era from 1978 to 1992 when the original MISL and NASL Indoor dominated the indoor scene. To be considered, players must have played at least six seasons through 1991-92. Also on the ballot are coaches, builders, and administrators who made an indelible impact on the sport.


The first class was announced in October 2011, but the ISHOF changed its calendar so that the annual voting results would coincide with the MISL and PASL playoffs to increase media exposure and allow teams the time in the offseason to plan special ceremonies to recognize their former players.

Haaskivi and Preki led the field with 12 votes each.  Toth was next with 11, while Quinn, Stankovic, and Jago grabbed eight each.  No other player earned more than five votes.

Voters were allowed to pick 15 players, coaches, and administrators to establish the inaugural class, but were constrained to just seven this year which splintered the vote.

“There are still a number of great players who haven’t been selected,” said ISHOF Executive Director Sydney Nusinov. “It’s kind of like telling baseball voters they have to choose between Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle, and they can only pick one.  It’s hard to build a consensus when there are so many worthy candidates.”

Haaskivi, the fifth leading scorer in MISL history, played for the Houston Summit, Cleveland Force, Baltimore Blast, and Cleveland Crunch in the MISL and the Edmonton Drillers in the NASL over a 14 year indoor career, totaling 817 regular season points.  Haaskivi was a seven-time All-Star and four-time All-MISL 1st Team selection.

Preki was an instant indoor sensation when he came to the US at the age of 22 to play for the Tacoma Stars.  He played nine seasons for the Stars, St. Louis Storm, and San Jose Grizzlies before embarking on a celebrated outdoor career in MLS and with the US National Team.  Preki finished 7th all-time in the MISL in scoring with seven 40+ goal seasons.  The Belgrade native topped the 50 goal plateau four times. Preki finished with 796 points in the MISL, where he was the 1988-89 MVP and CISL, where he was the 1995 MVP.

Toth was overshadowed by Shep Messing in New York early in his career and by Victor Nogueira in San Diego late in his career, but in between he quietly put up some of the best goalkeeping numbers in indoor soccer history.  Toth was first in MISL history in winning percentage at .667 on his career 168-84 record.  His 4.03 GAA was also an MISL best.  He finished fifth in wins. A two-time MISL Goalkeeper of the Year, Toth won seven championships with the New York Arrows and San Diego Sockers before finishing his career with the St. Louis Storm.

Quinn, who this year was inducted into the Breitbard Hall of Fame, the highest honor for any San Diego athlete, was the engine for eight San Diego Sockers championships.  Quinn, considered by some to be the greatest midfielder in indoor soccer history, was a six-time All-Star and two-time Championship Series MVP.  Quinn’s 10 year career with the Sockers and Montreal Manic produced 346 points in 314 games. Quinn later joined the US National Team outdoors and succeeded Ron Newman behind the Sockers bench.

Stankovic was Baltimore’s enforcer and, along with Kim Roentved, one of the MISL’s preeminent two-way players.  Stankovic played 15 seasons with the Baltimore Blast and Baltimore Spirit and also played for the Wichita Wings and the NASL’s Dallas Tornado and Memphis Rogues.  Stankovic played 424 games in the NASL and MISL scoring 453 points, and winning one championship.  Stankovic was named to the MISL’s All-Decade Team in 1988 and later became a player/coach with the Spirit.


Jago coached the Dallas Sidekicks and Tampa Bay Rowdies before moving to the Sidekicks front office and then serving as Commissioner of the World Indoor Soccer League.  In 1987 Jago coached the Sidekicks to a championship against the Tacoma Stars in the most memorable seven-game series in indoor soccer history.  He won the 1979-80 NASL championship with the Rowdies and led the Sidekicks to a CISL championship in 1993 finishing with a 259-223 overall regular season record.  Jago’s legacy includes signing Tatu in Tampa Bay and bringing him to Dallas where he became an indoor soccer icon. Jago worked tirelessly off the field to keep the Sidekicks in Dallas and is currently a member of their broadcast team.

About Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame

 

The mission of the Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame is to forge a common history for the unique sport of indoor/arena soccer, to celebrate its past, and set the standard for future achievement. For more information or to make a donation please visit the Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame at www.indoorsoccerhall.com.