BALTIMORE - Baltimore Blast owner Ed Hale has wanted his indoor soccer team to be part of a truly national league in hopes of growing the sport.
Hale appears close to getting his wish.
The Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) management, in conjunction with management from the 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 Blast were a member of the MISL and is considered one of the premier indoor teams in the country with seven titles to its credit.
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 in a statement. “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," said PASL Commissioner Kevin Milliken in a statement. “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.”
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.
This agreement will help PASL continue its growth after having just eight teams in the 2008-09 season.
The new league will reunite the Blast with many of indoor soccer’s storied franchises. This includes the Dallas Sidekicks, which will be celebrating 30 years while the San Diego Sockers history can be traced back to the 1970s.
Then there is the Missouri Comets, which defeated the Blast in 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 league’s owners meeting is May 17 and 18 in Baltimore, and will be having a formal press conference on May 19 during which the majority of the teams, division layout, and any other changes will be announced.