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Indoor Notes: Offseason updates for the Comets and MASL

Comets are not waiting until the last minute to improve the team

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Neto is one of the best keepers in the league
Thad Bell

Coming just shy of a spot in the Ron Newman Cup championship last season, the Kansas City Comets continue their preparations for 2021/22. They have re-signed a few key players and added an exciting addition in the midfield line. For player news, Matt Lewis has had an exciting summer while a former Comet announced his retirement.

League-wide, new leadership has been the biggest news. Not just new leadership in the league office but also for the Dallas Sidekicks and St. Louis Ambush. M2 recently wrapped up with a championship for the Cleveland Crunch, who defeated two of the MASL’s elite players with the Wichita Wings. The MASL will also be welcoming a new team this year.

Let’s start with the Comets offseason notes.

Comets postseason injury update

Comets head athletic trainer Shawn DuMers gave a postseason injury update in May. Most notably, forward Ramone Palmer had left knee surgery. Alvaro Beltran, Mirko Sandivari and Ignacio Flores were all in physical therapy.

Dream Team Pizza joins Comets ownership group

Jamie and Melissa Poulsen of Dream Team Pizza joined Brian Budzinski and Lane Smith to grow the Comets ownership group in May. Running 33 Domino’s locations in the area, they previously served as the title and jersey sponsor for the Comets in the previous six seasons.

A look inside the indoor soccer museum of Doc Summers

Comets color commentator Erik Bergrud paid a memorable visit to long-time indoor soccer fan and collector Doc Summers to take a look at his indoor soccer museum. The museum includes framed jerseys and memorabilia from all indoor soccer eras.

Midfielder Nick McDonald joins Shades of Blue

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McDonald talks about his endeavors with Sunflower State FC, which includes a rivalry with some of his Comets teammates. He is joined by other SS FC staff Andrew Lentell, Joey Lipoff and Salvatore Sesti.

Comets to host inaugural 5K run/walk and friendly

The Kansas City Comets will host their first-ever 5K Run/Walk to benefit Team Fidelis on August 21 at Cable Dahmer Arena. Participants will finish the race inside the arena and receive a t-shirt, medal and tickets to the friendly.

That night the Comets will host a friendly against M2’s Omaha Kings. Tickets are $14 across the entire arena.

Former Comets midfielder Ray Saari announces retirement

The Oak Park grad and cancer survivor was forced to hang up his boots due to injury. He ended his Comets career with 12 points from six goals and six assists in 12 games across parts of two seasons. He also spent time playing outdoor in the USL with Seattle Sounders 2, Sacramento Republic and OKC Energy before suffering his injury early into the season of 2020.

Forward Adam James re-signs with Comets

James returns for his fifth season with the Comets after signing a one-year contract. He returns after a big 2020/21 season where he was KC’s second-leading goalscorer with 11 goals.

Head coach/forward Leo Gibson returns with Comets

The Comets legend returns to the player/coach role for the final year of his three-year contract. After some doubt about playing another season after last year, where he would have gone to full-time coach, Gibson has decided to continue in his player/coach role. It will be his 12th season playing for the Comets as he closes in on 500 career points with KC.

Goalkeeper Nicolau Neto re-signs with Comets

The Brazilian keeper returns for his third season with the Comets after signing a two-year contract. He came up with some huge saves last year and will be looking to add to that this year.

Comets open tryouts in plans for mid-September

The Comets plan to host their annual open tryouts in mid-September. An official date is yet to be announced.

Matt Lewis win NISA title, loaned in USL Championship

Matt Lewis is staying busy this summer after winning the NISA championship with Detroit City FC in July. Lewis joined El Paso Locomotive FC on a short-term loan, which extends for the remainder of the season, but both clubs mutually agreed to have Lewis return to Detroit on August 1 ahead of the NISA Fall Season. He made the bench for El Paso in their scoreless draw with New Mexico United.

Comets connections in M2 awards

Newly signed midfielder Benji was named to the All M2 First Line alongside Wichita teammate and former Comet defender Kevin Ten Eyck. Ten Eyck finished with six goals and two assists and led M2 with 23 blocked shots. Benji was Wichita’s leading scorer with 24 points and is a finalist for M2 MVP.

Former Comets goalkeeper Steven Hamersky, now with the Wichita Wings, was named to the All M2 Second Line. He finished the regular season with a 5-1 record and finished M2 second in goals against average (6.02) and save percentage (.692).

Comets sign M2 MVP candidate

The Comets made their first new signing of the offseason with the addition of Wichita Wings standout midfielder Eduardo “Benji” Monreal. A candidate for M2 MVP, Monreal led the Wings in goals (16), assists (8) and points (24). He joins a talented Comets midfield that includes Lucas Sousa and Ignacio Flores.

Kyle McLagan Update

The Comets defender left midway through the season to return to Europe and play for Fram Reykjavík in the second tier of Iceland. McLagan has played in 15 games and scored five goals in all competitions, according to TransferMarkt. They sit on the verge of promotion as they are six points clear in first place with eight games to play.

Former Comets leading USWNT

Former Comets player and MISL title-winning head coach Vlatko Andonovski is hoping to take home a Bronze Medal from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with the USWNT. He is assisted by former Comets midfielder Milan Ivanovic. To get the Bronze Medal, they will need to beat Australia, a team they previously drew 0-0 with in the group stage. That match is on Thursday at 3 A.M. CT.

MASL Updates

St. Louis Ambush part ways with head coach

The Ambush unexpectedly parted ways with head coach Hewerton Moreira. He inherited a losing franchise and guided them to their first winning season in franchise history in 2021, finishing fourth in the MASL with an 8-7 record before being swept by the Comets in their first-ever playoff appearance. He finished with a final record of 30-57 in all competitions in his four seasons in St. Louis, including an 8-10 record against the Comets.

Tayou brothers sign for Wichita Wings

Four-time MASL MVP Franck Tayou and his brother, Uzi Tayou, dropped to M2 for the summer to play for the Wichita Wings. They played alongside newly signed Comets midfielder Eduardo “Benji” Monreal and former Comets James Togbah, Steven Hamersky and Kevin Ten Eyck. Franck finished the regular season with 10 goals and five assists in six games while Uzi finished with four goals and four assists in eight games.

Ambush hire new head coach

The Ambush announced indoor soccer veteran Greg Muhr as their new head coach in May. Muhr spent nine years playing indoor soccer in Chicago, St. Louis and Detriot between 1989 and 1998. He brings 27 years of coaching experience and is currently the Girls Director for Sporting St. Louis Soccer Club.

Sockers break ground on new arena

The San Diego Sockers broke ground on MASL’s first indoor soccer-specific arena in Oceanside, California. The venue has been given the name “Califino Arena” to start and will hold a capacity of 6,367. It is expected to open ahead of their 2023 season opener.

MASL names new leadership team

The MASL announced a legendary trio of American soccer faces to lead the MASL into a new era. Commissioner Keith Tozer, chairman Shep Messing, and president of communications/media JP Dellacamera have taken over.

Sidekicks name new President

The Dallas Sidekicks announced Jesse Llamas as the team’s President. Previously serving as General Manager and Director of Operations, Llamas enters a new position looking to rebuild relationships.

MASL scheduled season to begin in late November

The MASL is expecting to begin the regular season in late November with 16 teams participating after the Comets defend their Central Cup title. Other details such as conference alignment and playoff format will come later this offseason.

Sidekicks name MASL veteran as new head coach

The Dallas Sidekicks announced indoor veteran Pablo Da Silva as their new head coach. He replaces former head coach Simon Bozas, who led the Sidekicks to a MASL-worst 1-10 season and a 27-70 overall record since taking charge in 2015.

Soles de Sonora out, Chihuahua Savage in

The MASL announced the transfer of Mexican side Soles de Sonora to the Chihuahua Savage. Upon meeting arena requirements by early September, the Savage will join the top division this season.

Cleveland Crunch win M2 title

The Cleveland Crunch marked their return to indoor soccer with an M2 championship over the Wichita Wings. The Crunch won the MASL second-tier title with an 11-6 win over the Wings. Wichita’s Tayou brothers lost their second indoor soccer championship of the year after losing to the San Diego Sockers in the first division’s Ron Newman Cup Final in April.