San Diego Sockers Set Sights on Winning The Championship
The SD Sockers are San Diego’s championship soccer team — with an amazing legacy of winning 14 championship — now as the new season launches on Saturday, the hunt is on for earning their 15th title this season’ and wearing a new championship ring.
MASL Soccer News: The San Diego Sockers’ #Questfor15 in underway as the most celebrated team in arena soccer remains focused on bringing home another championship during the 2016/17 season.
The Sockers have been edged deep in their last three Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) campaigns as they seek to build upon the legacy of the 14 championships that have come beforehand.
The team is gearing up for their season opener on Saturday versus Turlock Express as San Diego’s most winning club aims for their 15th arena soccer title. Welcoming an array of young talent, the Sockers promise to be faster than ever and thrill fans on their way to becoming champions again.
Former Sockers defender Sean Bowers is the new General Manager and he is determined to help the reach their goal. Along with new additions to their front office staff, the Sockers welcome youthful players that they say will revitalize the prominence of the organization.
“Over the off-season, we made some changes to the front office and I feel we did the same thing with the team,” said head coach Phil Salvagio. “We have a better, more organized squad – a fitter team that is more together than just a group of individual players.”
Is this a new beginning for the Sockers? With an array of young talent added to their squad, this season marks the first time the team has opted for youthful speed and ability over more experienced, proven professional players.
“We used to go for older veterans but now we are building a new younger and faster team,” said Salvagio.
With seasoned professionals like Most Valuable Player and Team Captain Kraig Chiles on hand to help guide the newcomers, what the younger players lack in experience will be mentored. 2015/16 All-League First Team leader Chiles looks forward to working with the new players on the squad.
The Sockers 2016-17 Season Program Guide states Chiles is “one of the most dominant scorers in this era of indoor soccer,” and he is a high scoring fan favorite who electrifies the arena.
A few other veterans remain, the PASL MVP midfielder Brian Farber — who first joined the Sockers in 2013 — is back playing this season and is known for his speed of play. Jeff Hughes, Anthony Medina, Scottie Martin, Ze Roberto and Eduardo Velez are other successful players who will help guide the team to success on and out of the arena.
Chris Toth returns this year — once again to protect the goal and to continue his family’s tradition of being among the best goalkeepers in the game.
Tough Past Season
Last season, the Sockers recorded 15 wins and 5 losses, ultimately losing to Soles de Sonora after pushing the two-match series to an overtime mini-game.
Salvagio explains that the club wasn’t used to losing, and when the game was over many on the team really didn’t know how to handle it. He also notes that the team has been spending a lot more time over the off-season together, with the players truly believing the chemistry has clicked.
“Win or lose, the locker room will be the same,” stated Salvagio.
The Sockers have also reached out to former players and invited them to return to watch the game and perhaps mentor the younger members of the squad throughout the season.
Who will be the toughest competitors this year?
Chiles explained that he is excited to take on the Ontario Fury this season. The Fury has welcomed former Sockers’ forward Nick Perera for the upcoming campaign.
Chiles agreed that he will miss his former teammate and Salvagio said, “Perera is the captain of the U.S. Beach Soccer National Team and is one of the best players in the MASL.”
“The Ontario team is stacked and that will be a great rivalry for the Sockers,” said Chiles. “Another team to watch out for is Atletico Baja coached by Rene Ortiz.
The Goal is a Championship
The Sockers are approaching this season with their sights set on the future. The club aims to approach each and every game with the determination and professionalism to leave it all in the arena.
The goal is simple — to bring home the 15th championship.
“For the Sockers organization to win 14 championships is pretty incredible, and our standards are so high that it is championship or fail,” said Salvagio.
“We have an incredible legacy,” said Bowers who remembers clearly the glory days of the past and wants to lead his team to another victory. “This year, it is all about winning # 15.”
The club’s season opener will be held Saturday, October 29th at 7:05 p.m. PT versus their old rival, Turlock Express. The game will be at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, CA.
Sockers in the Community
Off the field, the Sockers will continue to work extensively in the community with youth soccer clubs and high school teams to provide opportunities for them to play at halftime. They will also look to include youth cheerleaders and local dance teams during their home games.
San Diego is the 8th largest city in America and has a thriving youth soccer culture. The Sockers will host Presidio Soccer League Night on November 2nd — welcoming youth players from San Diego’s 20,000 player league for a special night of soccer fun.
The club is also introducing the Sockers Foundation for the 2016/17 season, with the goal to help raise money for youth players who are unable to attend matches.
The organization remains dedicated to building on their legacy as they welcome back the San Diego Fusion of the Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL), which will now be called the Sockers Premier. Alex Monnar will be managing the team.
Salvagio said “The Sockers Premier is more than a reserve team — 90% of the players could be on the first team of any MASL team across the country. We have a great pool of talent.”
The future remains bright for the Sockers organization, with the official kickoff on Saturday being an opener you won’t want to miss!