By Hector Trujillo
After an eventful pre-season, the 10-time world champion San Diego Sockers begin their 2009-10 regular season at the Del Mar Arena on Nov. 7 against the Mexican All-Stars.
The Sockers will play seven of their first 10 regular season games at home in the newly renovated and roofed Del Mar Arena.
"We are very excited to finally start the season," Sockers midfielder Miguel "Chiky" Luna said. "Our team has been preparing for months and expects to play well in front of our home crowd."
The team played and won its first exhibition game 11-5 in July against La Cabana from Tijuana. The exhibition game, which was included with paid admission to the San Diego County Fair, was the first indoor soccer game ever to be played at the Del Mar Arena.
Before calling the 3,500-seat Del Mar Arena home, the Sockers last played at the 13,000-seat San Diego Sports Arena in 2004. Now playing for the Professional Arena Soccer League, which has 54 teams in 10 divisions across the United States, the San Diego Sockers will host 12 home games this season at the Del Mar Arena.
"We expect our team to take advantage of playing at home during the season," Sockers defender Daniel Antoniuk said. "This is something we know the fans will enjoy being part of."
The Sockers are returning as an expansion franchise of the PASL with hopes for more success than previous attempts. The franchise's most recent attempt at a comeback was in 2001, but it ended abruptly three years later.
Prior to that, the Sockers won eight Major Indoor Soccer League championships from 1983 to 1992 along with the North American Soccer League Championship in 1982 and 1984. Some of the players who make up the new Sockers team played in San Diego with the minor league Fusion who will be the Sockers' affiliate.
Brothers-in-law Dave Pike and Phil Salvagio bought the franchise last year along with Carl Savoia. Salvagio is a former player and now coaches the team.
The season-opener will also feature a mariachi band, in honor of the Mexican All-Stars, that will play as fans enter the arena and during certain breaks throughout the game. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. for the 6 p.m. game on Saturday with the kick-off after team warm-ups and introductions.
For more information on the Sockers and the 2009-10 regular season go to www.sdsockers.com.
Coming soon to Del Mar TV
Hector Trujillo interviews assistant coach Ray Taila and players Miguel 'Chiky' Luna and Daniel Antoniuk in a Producer's Showcase program. Check www.delmartv.com for showtimes.