ST. LOUIS – The second season of St. Louis Ambush soccer geared up in front of an estimated 2,000 fans at Soccer Park Saturday evening.
The fans came out to watch an outdoor friendly against the St. Louis Ambush and the Adrenaline Football Club, formerly known as Illinois Piasa. Adrenaline has partnered with the Ambush and will act as its developmental team this season.
Head Coach Darly Doran said last year's Ambush team was surprised with by the strength of the Major Indoor Soccer League. They failed in their goal of reaching the playoff with a 4-16 record, but injuries played major factors.
"We wanted to build the team around five or six experienced players," Doran said. "When three of the six get hurt it's kind of tough and we took our lumps."
The league is expanding this year and has changed its name to the Major Arena Soccer League. It will combine teams from both the MISL and the Professional Arena Soccer League.
The core players returning for the Ambush this season are Jeff DiMaria, forward and assistant coach who did not play in the pre-season game due to injury. The MISL Rookie of the Year Odaine Sinclair will try to improve on a 37 point season. Ambush goalie Jeff Richey was named to the U.S. Futsal Men's National team and was one of 10 MISL players on the 14 man roster.
Doran also worked in the offseason to acquire Jamar Beasley, the older brother of U.S. Men's National defender DeMarcus Beasley. Doran said Jamar Beasley is expected to be a leader as a former MISL MVP (2007-08) and 10 years of professional indoor experience.
"It's great for me to come in and show some of the young guys what it takes to come in and stay in the league for a long time," Jamar Beasley said.
Ambush Owner Andrew Haines said the team's performance didn't hinder its ticket revenue because they lead the league, but didn't lead in total attendance with an average of 5,600 fans per game. The Family Arena in St. Charles is the home field for the Ambush and has one of the largest capacities in the league.
"The key is just to stay in everyone's face just a little bit," Haines said.
Both Doran and Haines see this year's World Cup success by the U.S. as a boost for Ambush attendance. The local soccer scene also grew from the announcement of the
"All the excitement that drew here in America and the new outdoor team here, I think there are going to be some good things with the fans to really come out and watch year round," Doran said.
The MASL season will begin on Oct. 25 with a game between the Dallas Sidekick and the 2013-14 MISL Champion Missouri Comets. The full schedules have not yet been announced.