Four Comets & Four Sockers Among 15-Man Team for WMF World Cup
The U.S. National Arena Soccer Team finalized its 15-man roster for the upcoming World Mini-Football World Cup, taking place March 21st-29th across the United States. Led by MASL MVP candidates Kraig Chiles and Leo Gibson, the USNAST roster features fifteen players representing seven teams from across the Major Arena Soccer League. The fifteen-man roster includes thirteen field players and two goalkeepers as per the rules of the WMF World Cup.
“Selection was a difficult process, and there were many, many deserving players for this team,” said USA head coach Phil Salvagio, “With MASL playoffs still going and many travel considerations, we believe we have put together a side that can bring home the first Arena Soccer World Cup to the United States.”
In goal for Team USA are two talented keepers, Danny Waltman of the Missouri Comets and Joey Kapinos of the Rochester Lancers. Waltman, helping backstop the Comets to a perfect 20-0 regular season, finished the year 17-0 with a 4.83 goals against average (GAA) and 236 saves, fourth-most in the MASL. Kapinos finished top-10 in the MASL with a .727 save percentage, finishing 6-5 with a 5.68 GAA in goal for the Rochester Lancers.
Team USA’s defensive corps is led by Missouri’s Brian Harris and Baltimore’s Pat Healey, two candidates for MASL Defender of the Year. San Diego’s Evan McNeley and Las Vegas Legends veteran Enrique Tovar will join them in the defensive backfield.
Manning the midfield for Team USA will be the Missouri Comets’ John Sosa, Chiky Luna and Jeff Hughes from the San Diego Sockers, Matt Clare of the Wichita B52’s and Legends power play specialist Felipe Gonzalez.
At forward, the MASL single-season record holder for points and assists in a season, Gibson of the Comets, will be joined by the league’s single-season goals leader, Chiles of the Sockers. Baltimore’s Tony Donatelli and St. Louis attacker Gordy Gurson round out a talented group of targets.
The US National Arena Soccer Team opens their WMF World Cup Group A play on Monday when they take on Kazakhstan at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. Group play continues Tuesday against El Salvador, and Wednesday in San Diego against the Czech Republic.
Tickets to all WMF World Cup matches can be purchased online.
San Diego Sockers International Competition Update:
Two Sockers will be playing for Team Mexico, one for Team Brazil and another for Team Germany in the WMF World Cup:
Team Mexico, which opens up WMF World Cup play on Saturday, March 21st in Dallas, will feature Sockers defender Eduardo Velez and midfielder Raymundo Reza. Sockers defensive captain Ze Roberto will also don the armband as he helps lead Team Brazil in the World Cup. Sockers rookie midfielder Arman Nadjafi has been selected to help represent Team Germany.
In addition, the U.S. National Beach Soccer Team is in the process of CONCACAF qualifying for the Beach Soccer World Cup. Sockers forward Nick Perera is the captain of the U.S. National Beach Soccer Team, and will be in El Salvador for qualifying along with starting goalkeeper Chris Toth.
“We are thrilled to have so many of our players being asked to represent their countries in the realm of international soccer competition,” said Sockers general manager John Kentera, “Whether on the indoor pitch or the beach, the Sockers are sure to take part in lifting one or two international trophies this summer.”