PASL and Former MISL Teams Enter into Historic Agreement
The Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) Management, in conjunction with management from the Baltimore Blast, San Diego Sockers, and Missouri Comets have created a new partnership for all of the current PASL teams, and former MISL teams, that will unify professional arena/indoor soccer. The announcement was made in a special halftime ceremony at today's NWSL FC Kansas City home opener.
The league and teams will be working hard the next couple weeks to get all of the lease agreements and final paperwork done for every team that will be part of the new partnership. "Getting this done in a timely manner was extremely important for all of the teams that will be taking part," said PASL Commissioner Kevin Milliken. "We all received a lot of feedback from team owners that played in both leagues, but needed to have a small group with specific skills and experience to do the final negotiating for everyone, so we could get this done quickly.
"This is such a wonderful moment for the PASL, of course, but for arena soccer as a sport," Milliken continued. "To get from the level of acrimony that existed between various leagues when we started the Premier Arena Soccer League (the PASL's amateur developmental league) in 1998 to the camaraderie that exists between owners now is something that people said could not be done.
"We would like to thank Blast owner Ed Hale, Comets owner Brad Likens, and Sockers owner Phil Salvagio for taking leadership and having the vision to make this happen," said Milliken. "The combined history and experience of these owners is going to really accelerate our growth and their contributions will be invaluable."
The league will have around 20 teams in the US and Mexico and will be considered the top level of arena soccer in North America. The timing of the agreement is significant because the PASL will be hosting the first ever WMF World Cup of Arena Soccer in February/March 2015.
"For the first time the US National Arena Soccer Team will have access to all of the best talent in the country and we will have a bigger pool of potential host cities to showcase our six-a-side boarded arena soccer to the rest of the world," states US National Arena Soccer Team head coach Phil Salvagio. .
Heading into its seventh season, the PASL has enjoyed a period of tremendous growth. From eight teams in 2008-09, the league swelled to 20 teams this season, while attendance has increased 105% since 2011-12. Average attendance is projected to jump another 50% or more in the upcoming season with the addition of the new teams.
While the new partnership has positioned itself as the future of arena soccer it now also has a rich pedigree in the sport's history. The league's Dallas Sidekicks will be celebrating 30 years since their founding and the San Diego Sockers history can be traced back to the 1970s.
The Baltimore Blast franchise was founded in 1992, but Baltimore has had continuous arena soccer since 1980, winning seven championships.
The Missouri Comets, based in Independence, won the most recent MISL championship in March. The Comets name dates back to 1981 and the Kansas City area has enjoyed almost 30 seasons of arena soccer.
The leagues owners meeting is May 17th and 18th in Baltimore, and will be having a formal press conference on Monday May 19th, time and location TBD. The majority of the teams, division layout, and any other changes will be announced then.
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 concluded its sixth season with the Chicago Mustangs claiming the Newman Cup on March 16, is the largest and longest-running arena soccer organization in the US. The Tulsa Revolution, Ontario Fury, Wichita B-52s, Monterrey Flash, Saltillo Rancho Seco, Cleveland Freeze, and Bay Area Rosal were added for the 2013/14 season. The PASL-Premier just concluded its 16th season as the nation's top amateur arena soccer league and is the official developmental league of the PASL. Both the PASL and PASL-Premier are members of Confederacion Panamerica de Minifutbol (CPM).