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STRIKERS TRY TO TRANSLATE EFFORT INTO WINS
Hard work in practice has not consistently resulted in points for Las Vegas Strikers By: Phillip Detmer, LVStrikers.com
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (May 21 2006) -- Since the Las Vegas Strikers kicked off their 2006 preseason camp, the club has clocked in, hit the field and put in an honest day's work every single week. But the blue-collar approach has not yet paid off consistently in regular-season matches. Las Vegas is still winless this season and have three draws in ten games so far. And even though the Strikers have been competitive in each and every match this season, the club is far from content.
"Nobody is satisfied and saying, 'Yeah, we played pretty good.' That's not what this is about at all," Strikers coach Frank D'Amelio said. "The growing process to now know how to get over the top and become a really good team and win games is an important and necessary step. The foundation part is in place but I think we've got to put the rest together."
Through ten matches, Las Vegas sits on three points with a 0-7-3 record. The San Diego Fusion, last week's opponent, has already shut out Las Vegas this year, having kept the Strikers scoreless in the clubs' May 6 draw at the Buffalo & Washington Soccer Complex.
Players and coaches said the club's results have been frustrating but it's no reason to change their approach to every game.
"The biggest challenge for a team is going into every game and playing well," Strikers defender Todd Roberts said. "We're not about to change everything we're doing. It's just about a few guys coming up with plays on both sides of the field, attacking and defending. You see other teams do it all around our league. If we just stick to our task at hand we're going to be all right."
Training sessions have been rigorous from the start of training camp and the coaching staff has worked tirelessly into preparing the Strikers and trying to be a competitive team. Two-hour practices on a soccer field are routinely incorporated twice a week. Fitness levels have been high since the middle of training camp. Yet the club has struggled to carry its intense, high-paced sessions over into matches.
"Our training sessions during the week are at a high level. The games, we're playing at a high level but a couple of mental lapses here and there as a group have cost us games so far," Roberts said. "We're a team that's still finding its way in terms of cohesion. I think we're still making progress and we're going to be a good team."
Ultimately, the club's struggles to put together a consistent 90-minute effort could be a result of growing pains. After all, many players were still putting names to faces and trying to figure out each other's tendencies just a few months ago.
"My experience is always that becoming a team is hard work and even when you're making progress, there are no guarantees that it's just all going to fall in place," D'Amelio said. "I try to keep a steady and strong hand on the group. I try to make sure they understand that there are certain things that are being done right. I don't want people scratching their heads and think that we have to go back to the drawing board because that's not even close."
STRIKERS CAPTAIN MAKES TIME FOR YOUTHS
By: Rob Miech, Las Vegas Sun Newspaper LAS VEGAS, NV (April 22 2006) - Las Vegas Strikers captain and midfielder Noah Braun moved a bit gingerly, with a sore hamstring, Tuesday on the field behind Cashman Middle School. However, none of the six dozen or so kids, divided into six teams on three mini-pitches, seemed to mind his slower pace. Braun's presence was all that mattered. "He's impressionable," said Sal Savini, director of the Las Vegas' After-School All-Stars (ASAS) program. "The kids just love him. He connects with them, and that's one of the most difficult components to find. Anyone can go up there and go through the motions. Read Full Article
STRIKERS STRONG ON LOCAL SOCCER TALENT
ROSTER FILLED WITH FORMER UNLV, PREP STARS By: Todd Dewey, Review-Journal
APRIL 21 2006 (LAS VEGAS, NV) -- A veritable all-star team of local soccer talent will take the field at 7:30 tonight as the Las Vegas Strikers host the San Diego Pumitas in their National Premier Soccer League home opener at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex.
The Strikers, coming off a dismal 2-12-4 campaign in 2005, went 0-1-1 in San Diego, Calif., last weekend to open their fourth season, losing 1-0 to the Pumitas before settling for a scoreless tie against the San Diego Fusion.
Led by ex-Chaparral and University of San Diego standout Levi Parker, who was named a NPSL All-Star last year, the Strikers feature a plethora of local high school and college products and will be guided this season by former UNLV men's soccer assistant coach Frank D'Amelio.
"They're getting better every year and I look for a lot of success this year," said D'Amelio, who revamped the roster by adding many younger players. "We have a lot of new faces on the team who have already made an impact and some holdovers from last year who give us veteran leadership."
The Strikers, who also host the Pumitas at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the second of 10 home games, feature many former UNLV players -- including Brendon Bain, Emmet Mielbrecht, Kelly Frederick, Jon Dunning, Kristian Paananen, Todd Roberts, Geoff Barto (Green Valley High School), Omar Bywaters (Chaparral) and Eduardo Arredondo (Valley).
Other former local standouts include Massimo Zaretti (Coronado), Sergio Dominguez (Las Vegas), Tim Velasquez (Cimarron-Memorial) and Ivan Perez (Chaparral).
The Strikers are almost entirely made up of ex-college players, including Noah Braun (Oral Roberts), Ben Stott (Weber State), Jeff Canarelli (St. Mary's, Southern Methodist) and Juan Luis Romero (California).
"Most guys could step in to the (United Soccer League) or the (Major League Soccer) developmental league," D'Amelio said. "The level of play is comparable to a top-10, nationally ranked college team and above."
Braun, one of the team's tri-captains along with Parker and Barto, said the Strikers (lvstrikers.com) should be greatly improved this season.
"We have tons of talent and the team is a lot more complete," he said. "It's like a family out there. Guys will work hard for each other and cover for each other. We enjoy playing with each other and we're having fun out there."
D'Amelio said the goal is to win all 10 home games and go at least .500 on the road.
"Then we'd be looking at 15-5 and be right in the thick of it," he said. "We dominated most of our first two games, but we couldn't find the back of the net. If we can play at the level we showed in the last two games, we're going to get better as we go."
TESTS OF FRUSTRATION
By: Rob Miech, Las Vegas Sun Newspaper MAY 13 2006 (LAS VEGAS, NV) -- Las Vegas Strikers forward Levi Parker admitted that, on average, the typical real estate transaction is more challenging than trying to weave through a defense to score a goal.
"It is so out of your control," he said of the buying and selling of property, his chosen profession. "You just have to trust that others are doing their jobs to get your job done. Breaking down a defense is more in your hands." Read Full Article
NEW FACES OF THE STRIKERS LOOK FORWARD TO SEASON OPENER
Kick-Off 4th Season in the National Premier Soccer League By: Phillip Detmer / LVStrikers.com Staff
APRIL 11 2006 (LAS VEGAS, NEVADA) - This weekend the Las Vegas Strikers will kick-off their 4th season in the National Premier Soccer League as they travel to San Diego, California for a double-header against the Pumitas on Friday, April 14th and then the Fusion on Saturday, April 15th.
Their first match on Friday, is against last year's Western Division rivals the San Diego Pumitas. The Strikers and Pumitas faced each other four times last season, resulting in a 3 to 1 series advantage in favor of the Pumitas. However, head coach Frank D'Amelio has spent this year's preseason, recruiting some very talented young athletes to help turn around Las Vegas' poor results in 2005.
Strikers head coach Frank D'Amelio, makes his league debut this weekend for Las Vegas after spending the past 8 seasons with the UNLV Rebel Soccer program. D'Amelio is eager to show the fans of Las Vegas a high quality and entertaining product on the field this season. "I want to create special moments for the fans. We are going to be a team that is fun to watch," said D'Amelio. "I want them to get excited about a team that is going forward, attacking, and playing to win as well. I think we are going to be the talk of the league and the community."
Las Vegas has even a bigger challenge ahead in 2006 besides finding its way defensively, as more than half of last year's roster was replaced as new head coach Frank D'Amelio attempted to build a competitive squad. "We have alot of work ahead of us, so without a doubt this is going to be a rebuilding year for us. At the same time, we're very enthusiastic and optimistic with the talent and personnel we have on the returning team. I'm looking forward to working with the Strikers, but it's been a challenge filling in the rest of the squad and especially tightening up the defense."
Getting positive results this year won't be an easy task for the Strikers. The team also faces the new expansion team San Diego Fusion the same weekend on Saturday. The Fusion joined the NPSL over the break and are up for the challenge of high level soccer. The Fusion roster is filled with a number of former SD Surf soccer club players and they definitely bring alot of skill and experience to the team.
In bringing together this years Strikers team, D'Amelio feels confident with his returnees in the offensive side of the field, but knows he had to build up his defense. "You need a good offense obviously, but you need to prevent goals to keep you in the game, and you need to score goals to win, and they weren't able to shut down their opponents offense when they needed to."
D'Amelio has been looking to the college and recently graduated high school ranks for more athletic players to add to the defensive backline. "The key to our season will be how well chemistry develops between the newcomers and the returnees. We'll have to see what we have, who will play best in what positions, and what will be our best lineups. It will be tough as we will be challenged by some of the best teams in the Western Region." This year D'Amelio has recruited several defenders from his coaching days at UNLV. Former UNLV stars, Brendan Bain, Jon Dunning, Omar Bywaters and Kristian Pannanen will be featuring in the lineup for the Strikers. Also returning for Las Vegas is 2005 NPSL All-Star forward Levi Parker and All-Star nominee Noah Braun.
The Strikers open the home portion of their schedule on Friday, April 21, again facing the Pumitas in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex. "You always look to schedule the best you can, and the schedule this season is a very challenging one with some very tough road matches, but it should prove to be entertaining for our fans this year," said Owner and General Manager Steve Lazarus.
Strikers fans can purchase their Season Ticket packages for $35.00 and save $15.00 on game day pricing. The ticket packages include all 10 home game events. All ticket packages are available through lvstrikers.com and by calling (702) 528-3663.
STRIKERS INTENSIFY SCHEDULE WITH BAKERSFIELD BRIGADE, UNLV MATCHES
Las Vegas Plays Host To USL-PDL Club Members, And NCAA Division I Squad By: Phillip Detmer, LVStrikers.com
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (March 22 2006) – The Las Vegas Strikers have bolstered their 2006 schedule with a series of significant exhibition matches announced today. The Strikers will play a combination of events, which will include matches against the UNLV Men’s Soccer Team on April 1st, a two part home & away series against the Bakersfield Brigade (USL-PDL) on April 2nd in Las Vegas, Nevada and April 9th in Bakersfield, California, and finally a match against the visiting Diamond Bar Kickers of San Antonio on April 8th.
The match versus UNLV will be played at the Peter Johann Memorial Soccer Field on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas at 1:00 p.m. The Bakersfield Brigade match will be played in a home and away series. The first will be hosted in Las Vegas on April 2nd at the Summerlin Community Soccer Complex. Kick-off will be scheduled for 2:00pm. The following week the Strikers will play host to the Diamond Bar Kickers at 4:00 p.m. at the Peter Johann Memorial Soccer Field, before heading on the road to Bakersfield, California to face the Brigade in the second part of their pre-season series.
“Our success both on and off the pitch has put us in an excellent position to grow our business,” said Strikers general manager Steve Lazarus. “Adding both the Brigade of the United Soccer Leagues and the Division I UNLV Men’s Soccer team to our schedule speaks volumes about the growth of the Las Vegas Strikers. It’s shaping up to be a most exciting season.”
In 2004, Jeffrey Thorn purchased the franchise rights to the Lafayette Swamp Cats, a USL Premier Development League team. In a community “Name the Team” contest, the Bakersfield Brigade name was born. In their inaugural 2005 season, the team led the Southwest Division in attendance and finished fifth in their eight-team division.
In March, 2005, the Brigade conducted youth tryouts in an effort to increase the club’s presence in the Bakersfield community. Within 6 months, ten Brigade youth teams were established and compete today locally in Bakersfield, as well as in Southern California’s Coast Soccer League. For more information on the Bakersfield Brigade Soccer Club, visit their website at www.BakersfieldBrigade.com
“What a wonderful opportunity for our supporters to observe soccer at the highest level and for our players to compete against some of the best players in the Western Region,” Strikers head coach Frank D’Amelio said. “This is great news for the city and for the Las Vegas Strikers. The Brigade is a highly competitive team in the PDL Division and this series marks the first time in club history between a United Soccer League (USL) team and a National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) team. It should prove to be a good bench mark for the skill level of our team this season and it should be very entertaining for our fans.”
The USL-Premier Development League features a 59-team format within four conferences. Similar to the NPSL, the PDL league is the proving ground for players that aspire to reach the highest-levels of the game, while providing affordable family entertainment within their city.
The UNLV match will give Las Vegas soccer fans a chance to see their local college stars in action. This past year the Rebels posted one of their worst seasons and finished with a 2-16-1 mark, and was 0-9-1 in league action. As a result, Mario Sanchez was named the new head men's soccer coach at UNLV in January. Sanchez comes to Las Vegas from Akron, where he was an assistant coach for the men's soccer program for the past three years. Sanchez became the fourth head coach in the 32-year history of the UNLV program, and replaced Barry Barto, who was reassigned in December after 24 seasons.
“We are excited to play in these events this year. The Brigade match in Bakersfield will be our last preparation game prior to our season opener,” said Steve Lazarus. “California is a hotbed for soccer and we look forward to playing in a state that has supported the Brigade very well.”
Las Vegas will open the 2006 National Premier Soccer League season on Friday, April 14th when they travel to Southwestern Conference rivals the San Diego Pumitas at Balboa Stadium on the campus of the San Diego City College.
Each of the pre-season series matches are included in an expanded season-ticket plan that features all 10 home games for 2006. These plans and several other convenient ticket packages are currently available by contacting email@example.com.
THE NEW VOICE OF THE LAS VEGAS STRIKERS
STRIKERS ENTER 2006 WITH A NEW VOICE By: Phillip Detmer, LVStrikers.com
March 23 2006 (LAS VEGAS, Nevada) -- The Las Vegas Strikers are viewing 2006 as "a season of change." Not only will the upcoming soccer season in Las Vegas have some new competition in the Western Region, they will also have a new "Voice of the Strikers".
The Las Vegas Strikers would like to welcome as their new home game announcer, UNLV Women's Soccer standout forward and broadcasting/journalism major, Katie Carney, of Lake Forest, California. Katie comes to the Strikers with a strong background in broadcasting and a real talent for soccer. Within the last year she has featured as the announcer in several of the Las Vegas Wranglers home games at the The Orleans Arena. In addition to her broadcast background, Katie is a star striker for the UNLV Women's Soccer Team and has an inside knowledge and eye for the game of soccer. She will be the Strikers' first regular gameday announcer in the clubs history, since it was founded in 2003.
"I am honored and thrilled to become the announcer for what will likely be an exciting 2006 soccer season in Las Vegas," Katie said. "I simply can't imagine a better combination for my love of broadcasting and the sport of soccer."
As a freshman for the Rebels Soccer Team, Katie turned in an outstanding season, as she scored a team-high five goals (tied for sixth in the MWC), and tied for the team lead in points with 11 (tied eighth in the MWC)...posted two game-winners on the year, against San Diego (Sept. 24) and Air Force (Oct. 24), a game in which she notched two scores, and was the only freshman to play in all 19 games, and made seven starts. As a sophmore, the 5'5" speedy forward posted an even more impressive season, as she scored a team-high seven goals and a school record seven assists and helped UNLV earn a place in the 2005 Mountain West Tournament Championship.
The Las Vegas Strikers kick off the 2006 regular season on Friday, April 14, when they take on the San Diego Pumitas at Balboa Stadium on the campus of the San Diego City College, it was announced in January as the club unveiled its 20-game schedule for the upcoming National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) campaign.
The Strikers open up the home portion of their schedule on Friday, April 21st, again facing the Pumitas in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex. Season tickets, group packages, and promotions for the 2006 campaign are currently available. Strikers' season tickets are priced at $35.00 for 10 home games (plus, their extended preseason events) and are currently available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
"It is no surprise why we asked Katie Carney to be our Master of Ceremonies for all Strikers home games," said General Manager Steve Lazarus. "Katie is an extraordinarily talented, personable and knowledgeable host - qualities we were looking for all along. The Strikers organization is delighted that she has joined our team."
2006 STRIKERS PRESEASON GETS UNDER WAY
By: Phillip Detmer, LVStrikers.com
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (March 17 2006) -- The Las Vegas Strikers begin their 2006 preseason today in Las Vegas. The team reported yesterday at the Desert Breeze Soccer Complex for their first official training session this year, as it prepares for its season opener at San Diego on Friday, April 14th.
The team will have just two weeks to train before they face the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Men's Soccer Team on Saturday, April 1st, then host the Bakersfield Brigade (PDL) of the United Soccer Leagues on Sunday, April 2nd in Las Vegas. The Strikers continue their preseason line-up the following week against the Diamond Bar Kickers of San Antonio on April 8th, and then travel to Bakersfield, California to challenge the Brigade once again in the Strikers final preseason tune-up.
The Brigade is a highly competitive team in the PDL Division of the United Soccer Leagues, and this series marks the first time in club history between a United Soccer League (USL) team and a National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) team.
The training and exhibition matches in Las Vegas in March and April are open to the media and will be held at various locations to be announced this week. The match versus UNLV on April 1st will be held at the Peter Johann Memorial Soccer Stadium at 1:00pm and the match versus the Diamond Bar Kickers will also be held at this location on April 8th at 4:00pm. The Strikers will train next Tuesday at the new Buffalo & Washington Soccer Complex (Field #1 or #2) at 8:00pm.
The Strikers will open the 2006 NPSL season on the road on Friday, April 14 at San Diego, and the home opener is set for Friday, April 21, versus the San Diego Pumitas. The complete schedule is available on the Strikers website at lvstrikers.com.
Strikers fans can purchase their Season Ticket packages for $35.00 and save $15.00 on game day pricing. The ticket packages include all 10 home game events, plus the Strikers' extended preseason exhibition schedule. All ticket packages are available through lvstrikers.com and (702) 528-3663.
21 & 28 = 8:00pm train in Las Vegas (Buffalo & Washington Complex), open to the media
1 = Exhibition @ UNLV, 1:00pm, open to the media
2 = Exhibition vs Bakersfield Brigade (in Las Vegas), TBD, open to the media
8 = Exhibition @ Diamond Bar Kickers (@UNLV's Field), 4:00pm, open to the media
9 = Exhibition @ Bakersfield Brigade (in Bakersfield), TBD
MARCH 7 2006 (Las Vegas, NV) -- After a highly entertaining and successful inaugural season, the strikers look forward to stepping it up a few notches for the 2006 campaigne. With most of their starters returning and over 70 players trying out this week, this season is going to be pure awe. The Strikers' General Manager, Steve Lazarus, put out a season's welcome article and it can be found for your reading pleasure right here at soccer4vegas.com.
Hello soccer fans and welcome to the Las Vegas Strikers 2006 NPSL season.
For those of you who missed 2005, or think you missed it because it happened so fast, let me bring you up to speed before we head into ‘06. In 2005 the NPSL continued to grow with the expansion of a Mid-West Division and the addition of 6 new teams. In the end, the Mid-West division champions, Detroit Arsenal, overtook the Western division champions, Sonoma Sol 1-0 in overtime to capture the 2005 NPSL National Title. Congratulations to Detroit Arsenal and further congratulations to those players selected to the NPSL All-Star Team, including the Striker’s very own Levi Parker whose prowess for scoring goals was the highlight of our play.
For the Strikers, while we didn’t see the results we hoped for on the field we did have a lot of success in every other aspect. Our goal to create fun and exciting events continued to improve with better facilities (our sincere thanks to the City of Las Vegas for the use of the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex), added amenities (seating, sound, concessions, retail, etc.) and multiple nightly promotions (like our Findlay Volkswagon car give-away). All of which contributed to increased fan attendance and, most importantly, more fun at the games. Fan interest in the team was at an all-time high with our website, www.lvstrikers.com, averaging 6,475 page views a month (including the off-season), e-mail sign-ups doubling and press coverage higher than all years combined. And finally, our goal toward fostering the development and promotion of youth soccer was probably best exemplified by the success of our summer soccer camp which we co-hosted with our friends at Chivas USA of Major League Soccer. All-in-all, 2005 was a pretty successful year!
And while 2005 was great, 2006 looks even brighter. With all eyes on Germany and the 2006 FIFA World Cup, this summer will feel like watching the Superbowl for an entire month. Soccer will be in our national media, in daily conversation and on radios and TVs all over Las Vegas. For all of us who love this game this is a very special time. And for the Las Vegas Strikers we hope to share in that energy by providing great soccer entertainment a little closer to home. In 2006, the NPSL will continue to grow by adding 5 new teams and separating the Western Division into 2 conferences (North and South). The Las Vegas Strikers will be matching up against their 2005 southern rivals the Asylum and Pumitas along with 3 new sides, the Arizona Banat-Storm, San Diego Fusion and Denver Kickers – a challenge that I’m sure TR, Reggie, Emmet, Barto, Noah, Jeff, Levi and all the others are looking forward to. Not only will this increase competition in the Southwest, but it will make it more affordable for Striker fans to travel and support us “on the road”, and for their fans to come to Las Vegas and enjoy our city. Off the field we will continue to stay focused on “family, friends and fun”, while on the field we will be more determined than ever to find success.
Once again, we thank all of our fans, sponsors and advertisers for all your continued support and we look forward to seeing you cheering us on in 2006.
LAS VEGAS STRIKERS ANNOUNCE OPEN TRYOUT DATES
Las Vegas Strikers News Release Thursday, February 23, 2006 9:00 am PST
Las Vegas, Nevada – The Las Vegas Strikers will be holding open tryouts to find the best soccer players in Southern Nevada for their upcoming 2006 NPSL season. Interested players are invited to register online at www.lvstrikers.com/Open Tryouts or they can complete the registration information at the field prior to play.
Players from the open tryouts may be asked by the Striker’s coaching staff to return for an ‘invitation only’ tryout and further evaluation. The top players ultimately selected to the starting and reserve roster will earn a 20 game schedule (10 home, 10 away) against some of the top amateur and professional soccer teams across the United States, including the San Diego Pumitas, SD Fusion, Arizona Banat-Storm (the 2006 Las Vegas Bud Cup Champions!), Albuquerque Asylum and Denver Kickers.
Open Tryout Dates:Tuesday, 2/28/06
Location: Green Valley High School Registration: 7:00pm - 7:30pm Registration Fee: $20.00 Warm-Up: 7:30pm - 8:00pm Tryout: 8:00pm - 10:00pm
The Las Vegas Strikers’ season begins on April 1st with an exhibition match against the UNLV Men’s soccer program coached by Mario Sanchez.
About the Las Vegas Strikers
The Las Vegas Strikers proudly represent Southern Nevada in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), Western Division, Southern Conference, where they compete against some of the top teams throughout the United States. The NPSL season, which typically runs from April through July, has the top Western Division teams meet in Divisional playoffs with the winner going on to compete for the coveted National Championship honors. More on the Strikers can be found at www.lvstrikers.com
STRIKERS 2006 OUTLOOK
February 4, 2006
By: Phillip Detmer / LVStrikers.com
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - The Strikers had come into the 2005 Season with one goal, to get better on offense. They accomplished that, thanks to the attacking skills of Levi Parker, who was later selected one of the 2005 NPSL All-Star Team players last season. However, it was the defensive struggles that hampered Las Vegas all season, as the Strikers gave up 52 goals over 18 matches.
Las Vegas has even a bigger challenge ahead in 2006 besides finding its way defensively, as more than half of last year's roster will likely be replaced as new head coach Frank D'Amelio attempts to build a competitive squad. "We have alot of work ahead of us, so without a doubt this is going to be a rebuilding year for us. At the same time, we're very enthusiastic and optimistic with the talent and personnel we have on the returning team. I'm looking forward to working with the Strikers, but it's going to be a challenge filling in the rest of the squad and especially tightening up the defense."
In bringing together this years Strikers team, D'Amelio feels confident with his returnees in the offensive side of the field, but knows he has to build up his defense. "You need a good offense obviously, but you need to prevent goals to keep you in the game, and you need to score goals to win, and they weren't able to shut down their opponents offense when they needed to."
Thus, D'Amelio will be looking to the college and recently graduated high school ranks for more athletic players to add to the defensive backline. "The key to our season will be how well chemistry develops between the newcomers and the returnees. We'll have to see what we have, who will play best in what positions, and what will be our best lineups. It will be tough as we will be challenged by some of the best teams in the Western Region."
Once again, the Strikers will play some of the toughest competition in the Western Region, as they will play 8 games against two teams that have played in the USASA Region IV National Cup Finals. In addition they are scheduled for 2 home and 2 away matches against the Albuquerque Asylum. The Strikers and Asylum will renew their longtime rivalry on Friday, June 2 at the Lovelace Soccer Complex in New Mexico, with the Asylum making the return trip to Las Vegas at the end of June.
"You always look to schedule the best you can, and the schedule this season is a very challenging one with some very tough road matches, but it should prove to be entertaining for our fans this year," said Owner and General Manager Steve Lazarus.
The National Premier Soccer League will feature a new Southwestern Conference with three new franchises in 2006. The San Diego Fusion, Arizona Banat-Storm, and the Denver Kickers will all make their debut this year, but that won't make the road any easier for the Strikers, as Arizona and Denver both have well established soccer clubs.
Las Vegas will meet the Banat-Storm in back-to-back games in April, while Denver is another team expected to challenge for the league title along with San Diego. The Strikers know that once the season begins, everything is up for grabs.
STRIKERS PICK D'AMELIO AS NEW HEAD COACH
February 4, 2006
By: Phillip Detmer / LVStrikers.com
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - Just weeks before starting their 4th season in the National Premier Soccer League, the Las Vegas Strikers added another item to their shopping cart of changes. On February 3rd, the club announced it has hired a new head coach for their 2006 season. Former assistant coach for UNLV, Frank D'Amelio was named the third head coach in the Strikers history.
"I think the fact that we hired a true professional sends a signal to our fans that we are serious about winning a championship for Las Vegas," said Strikers Owner and General Manager Steve Lazarus.
D'Amelio's resume most certainly speaks for itself in terms of his knowledge and experience. A native of Long Island, N.Y., D'Amelio began playing competitive soccer at the age of 11. He continued to play throughout his youth, starring at Baldwin High School as well as several New York area club and all-star teams.
He began his collegiate career at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y., where he played for one season. In 1977, he spent a year away from the collegiate circuit, playing for the USA Under-21 National Team.
The following season, D'Amelio transferred to Evansville University where he was a two-year starter and captain for the Purple Aces. At Evansville, he was twice named the team's most valuable player, earned two All-Midwest selections and an invitation to play in the 1980 Senior Bowl All-Star game.
Following his career in the collegiate ranks, D'Amelio was a first-round draft choice of the Philadelphia Fury of the North American Soccer League (NASL). He spent three seasons playing soccer professionally, including stints with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and the New York United.
It was also in 1980 that D'Amelio began to coach, serving as an assistant coach at Evansville while completing the coursework for his diploma. After receiving his bachelor's degree in languages in 1981, he accepted a position as the head soccer coach at Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville and took the team to the state championship finals.
D'Amelio continued to coach and play throughout the `80s. He was a team captain for three different clubs in the Long Island Soccer League while serving as an assistant coach at his high school alma mater before coming to Las Vegas and has spent the past eight season's as the assistant coach for UNLV. He begins his 11th year coaching kids in the Nevada Youth Soccer League, a duty he will perform alongside his tasks with the Strikers.
A resident of Las Vegas since 1993, D'Amelio and his wife, Corrie, have three children: Amber (24), Domenic (14) and Emily (4).
D'Amelio is eager to show the fans of Las Vegas a high quality and entertaining product on the field next season. "I want to create special moments for the fans. We are going to be a team that is fun to watch," said D'Amelio. "I want them to get excited about a team that is going forward, attacking, and playing to win as well. I think we are going to be the talk of the league and the community."
For a team that won just two times in 18 games last year, D'Amelio could be a breath of fresh air. If nothing else, D'Amelio's presence will change the negative atmosphere that seemingly followed the club in every game last year.
Despite the obstacles in D'Amelio's way, Lazarus said the club had a commitment to winning. "We need to see results. We demand results from coaches and we have to keep in mind that we had 12 losses last year," Lazarus said. "At the minimum I expect to make the playoffs. I want people to know that we are committed to make this team a winner."
STRIKERS ANNOUNCE 2006 SCHEDULE
February 4, 2006
LAS VEGAS OPENS FOURTH NPSL SEASON APRIL 14 AT SAN DIEGO
LAS VEGAS, NV - The Las Vegas Strikers kick off the 2006 regular season on Friday, April 14, when they take on the San Diego Pumitas at Balboa Stadium on the campus of the San Diego City College, it was announced in January as the club unveiled its 20-game schedule for the upcoming National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) campaign.
The Strikers open the home portion of their schedule on Friday, April 21, again facing the Pumitas in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex.
Season tickets, group packages, and promotions for the 2006 campaign will be available in February. Strikers' season tickets are priced at $35.00 for 10 home games and are currently available by contacting email@example.com. Additional details on Strikers ticket plans can be found at www.lvstrikers.com.
The Strikers' schedule now includes 20 matches, with home-and-home contests against each of their six Southwestern Conference opponents. Las Vegas will play the San Diego Fusion, San Diego Pumitas, Arizona Banat-Storm, Albuquerque Asylum, and Denver Kickers four times each in 2006 (2 home, 2 away).
The Strikers and Asylum renew their longtime rivalry at Lovelace Soccer Complex in Bernaillo on Friday, June 2, with the Asylum making the return trip to the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex on Friday, June 30th.
The 10-game home schedule is a great combination of Friday and Saturday games, including the following breakdown: Fridays (5) and Saturdays (5). Standard home game times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Among the home highlights, three expansion franchises make their appearance in 2006 at the Bettye Wilson Soccer Complex. The three expansion teams in the Southwestern Conference include the San Diego Fusion, Arizona Banat-Storm, and the Denver Kickers.
ARBELAEZ FUELS TOROS' DEBUT WIN
February 13, 2006
By: Keith Freeman, Review-Journal
February 13 2006 (Las Vegas, NV) -- Former UNLV standout Boomer Arbelaez scored the first two goals in Toros history, leading the Las Vegas franchise to a 9-4 victory over the New York Arrows in the new National Alliance Soccer League on Sunday.Playing their first of seven Sunday indoor games at the Orleans Arena, the Toros went ahead to stay with four goals in the second quarter.
Mike Cudmore gave New York a 1-0 lead in the game's first minute, but Arbelaez, an all-conference midfielder at UNLV in 2004, answered late in the quarter and put the Toros ahead 3:18 into the second."It was a great feeling to break the ice," said Arbelaez, a Bishop Gorman graduate who played for the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer in 2005.
"I always love to play in front of the home crowd. I felt that I was out in California by myself."
The Toros' winning debut thrilled coach Frank D'Amelio.
"It was very positive for us on the field and off the field with the fans in the stands," he said. "I was very pleased with the outcome. You always like to start on a positive note. The boys played well considering the short time we've been together." Read More
NEW FUN FOR INDOORS
By Rob Miech, Las Vegas Sun
The start of the National Alliance Soccer League on Sunday at the Orleans Arena won't exactly offer fans an opportunity to watch the best players in the country participate in a new indoor national league.
But it will expose fans to the fast pace of the indoor game. And it will give young players a chance to show their skills and maybe catch the eye of a professional scout or two, or even a college coach.
Tom Ficara, executive producer of the TVS Television Network and the key figure in the development of the NASL, said Thursday he was in a "panic, heart-attack, wonderful" state as kickoff neared.
The teams will wear Diadora uniforms that Ficara called "stunning" and the games will played on a powder-blue turf produced by Seamco.
"It will be great for fans and television, out of sight," Ficara said.
Frequently asked questions about the NASL:
Late last summer, Major Indoor Soccer League commissioner Steve Ryan visited Ficara in Las Vegas to try to sell the MISL's Cleveland Force to Ficara for $50,000. Ficara responded with an offer of $1 million to buy the television rights to the league. Ryan balked. So Ficara developed his own league.
How many teams will compete?
Will they be divided into conferences or divisions?
It won't be a typical league in that sense. In fact, there won't even be standings this year. This will be a showcase, or exhibition season.
So no playoffs or title game?
Why was the NASL set up that way?
To be a vehicle for Margate Entertainment Co. Inc., which owns TVS. Margate sells DVDs featuring the games of Pele, Johan Cruyff and other legends from the former North American Soccer League as well as soccer jerseys.
It's not all about Margate's bank account, though. All Orleans Arena profits will be donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas, Lied Animal Shelter and Safe Nest.
What about next year?
Ficara will try to organize the National Alliance Soccer League as a sanctioned league, with teams representing other cities actually playing selected games in those cities. But most games still will be played in Las Vegas.
What about a most valuable player?
Yes, someone will earn the Ken Johann MVP Award. Johann has been an influential soccer figure in the area for decades. UNLV's pitch is named for Ken's late son, Peter.
Who will win that award?
Our early favorite is former UNLV star Victor "Boomer" Arbaelez, who will play for the Las Vegas Toros.
Who will coach the Toros?
Former UNLV assistant Frank D'Amelio, who played for Philadelphia in the North American Soccer League.
When will the games be played?
At 1 and 3 p.m. on seven Sundays over the next two months. The Toros will play in every 3 p.m. game.
What about tickets?
Doubleheader tickets will cost $25, $15 and $10. A ticket-purchasing adult can bring a soccer uniform-wearing child, 12 or under, for free.
Danny Stone, the Toros' British defender who has played professionally in England, believes his native land's national team will play through recent drama involving its coach.
Sven-Goran Eriksson was set up in an embarrassing "fakek sheikh" sting last month in Dubai. A "News of the World" undercover reporter coaxed Eriksson into making controversial statements, and Eriksson will be released after the World Cup.
"It's a real shame that a paper like that wanted to do something like that," Stone said. "At the same time, I think Sven was a bit naive to say the things he did. It's not good for English soccer on the whole.
"But I think he has the backing of the players. They're comfortable with him, as professional athletes. I don't think it will have any great effect on their chances. They're top professionals and they know how to handle that."
Former Las Vegas High star and current Los Angeles Galaxy striker Herculez Gomez, in a cap and dark shades, tried to be nondescript at the recent U.S.-Norway friendly at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles.
In the 75th minute, a kid noticed him and was granted an autograph. Minutes later, fans sitting in the area began to chant his name.
Luca Scarpa wishes his Cagliari team was as good as the pizza he makes at his two Trio Pizzeria locations - at Rainbow and Hacienda on the west side of town and Eastern and Silverado Ranch on the east.
Scarpa, 32, hails from Sassari, Sardinia. Cagliari (5-12-7) plays at the other end of the island and is fighting relegation at the bottom of the top-flight Serie A.
"I still love them," Scarpa said of the Rossoblu. "I can't stand losing, though."
Cucuta at Deportivo Cali, Sunday
Two of Colombia's best teams play at Estadio Pascual Guerrero. The edge goes to Deportivo, which won its previous game, 3-0, away from home. The eight-time national champion gets a new stadium this summer, too.
Rob Miech can be reached at 259-4087 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NASL SEASON OVER AFTER ONE WEEK
February 20, 2006
By KEITH FREEMAN, REVIEW-JOURNAL
After only one week of a seven-game Sunday schedule that was set to run until April 9, the National Alliance Soccer League and the Orleans Arena have decided not to honor the remaining six weeks.
The two sides could not reach an agreement during a conference call Wednesday, so there no longer will be Sunday afternoon doubleheaders at the facility.
However, TVS executive producer Tom Ficara is negotiating plans to conduct the final six weeks of the season March 25 at a to-be-determined site. Margate Entertainment, Inc., owner of the NASL and TVS, its subsidiary, will continue to televise and distribute the games. Instead of all Sunday doubleheaders, the new schedule might include some midweek games.
The Orleans Hotel and Casino had promoted the team in posted advertisements throughout its property and on its Web site. On Sunday, though, only one usher was employed at the Orleans Arena entrance, where a posted cardboard sign declared that the first NASL season was canceled. The usher also told fans who showed up that the arena would no longer be home to the Las Vegas Toros and the other seven NASL teams.
The Toros, who won their opener over the New York Arrows on Feb. 12, were scheduled to play the Cleveland Crunch on Sunday. After hearing about Wednesday's developments, players and coaches on the team voted to stay together and will resume team practice Feb. 27, according to coach Frank D'Amelio.
"I was stunned and the rest of the team was stunned," D'Amelio said. "It kind of took the wind out of our sails. It (the Feb. 12 opener) was a very positive thing. Everything was looking great and now, all of a sudden, we'll have to try to get it going again.
"On March 25, we'll try to get it going. I talked this over with the players and asked them how they felt about this, and everybody raised their hands and said that they're in," D'Amelio said. "We all feel that Las Vegas needs an indoor team, and we're in for the long haul."