For a city like Orlando, attracting sports fans to games is something of a hassle. You have to compete with the constant flow of events, conventions, concerts, and the ever-present theme park industry for attention. So for indoor soccer to arrive in the Central Florida area just south of the city in Kissimmee, there had to be some interest. The success and fervor around Orlando City SC and Orlando Pride is very well known. However, would fans flock to Silver Spurs Arena for the indoor version of the sport?
The Kansas City Comets and Utica City FC have installed brand-new blue synthetic fields this season in their buildings to add a little bit of color to the MASL.
The Chicago Mustangs play in front of capacity crowds at the small confines of the Grand Sports Arena in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago in Hoffman Estates. The enthusiastic crowd provides a definite home advantage for the club.
The Baltimore Blast is not as well known nationally as those other Baltimore teams. Indoor soccer is much more a niche sport. But they still have their own sports legend in Stan Stamenkovic. Stan, whose real first name was Srboljub, was known in indoor soccer circles as “The Magician.” The Serbian star played for the Baltimore Blast from 1983 until 1988, at a time that indoor soccer players made big money and were true star athletes. You will still find people around the Baltimore area who talk about Stan’s amazing ability. Besides his talent and creativity (check out this clip from the 1983 MISL all star game below) Stamenkovic resonated with fans because he was the true “everyman.” His love of pizza, beer and cigarettes often showed in his non athletic looking body, but it was the fact that he put on a show every night that he gained the fans love. Unfortunately Stan died at a very young 39 in 1996 from a fall in his home country. His #10 is retired by the Blast and a banner flies in SECU Arena.
Eastern Iowa is new to the game of indoor soccer and its newest team the Cedar Rapids Rampage hope to make it a staple among the sports landscape for years to come.