The St. Louis Steamers and the Utah Freezz host the leagues first two games of the season on Saturday, August 18th. The Steamers battle the expansion San Diego Sockers led by former Sockers and Team USA legend Brian Quinn at the popular Family Arena in St. Charles. The surprise package of last season, the Utah Freezz tackle the 1999 League Champion Sacramento Knights at the E Center in West Valley City.
The following night, August 19th, the Dallas Sidekicks host the San Diego Sockers at the brand new "American Airlines Center". The Sidekicks will make history on the evening, becoming the first pro sports team to play a league game at the newly built facility. A large crowd of sports fans are expected to attend the arena's christening. Over 4,000 youth soccer players, coaches and parents tournament this past weekend in Dallas. The 4 vs. 4 series developed by the Sidekicks continues to provide North Texas recreational level soccer players with one of the state's most popular and enjoyable non-competitive tournaments.
The Iain Fraser-led Sacramento Knights open their 2001 campaign at Arco Arena on Saturday, August 25th taking on their California rival, San Diego Sockers. Quinn's Sockers kick off their WISL season on Saturday, September 8th against the Sacramento Knights. The Sockers hope to replicate their success in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) which saw them capture 10 world indoor championships. Ticket sales continue to be brisk for the Southern California club.
In addition to the weekend dates, the St. Louis Steamers and the Dallas Sidekicks will both be hosting "School Day" games. The games are designed to provide an affordable opportunity for local school children to see a pro sports event and also include various educational elements.
The Sidekicks will host their game on Thursday, September 14th at Reunion Arena. The Steamers game, sponsored by "Tobacco Free Missouri", will be held on Thursday, October 25th. Both teams will face Jeff Bett's Utah Freezz squad. The Utah Freezz will host three "Family Nights" on Monday evenings during the 2001 season. The "Family Night Series" is based on the highly successful "Family Nights" promoted by the local Church of Latter-Day Saints. The church encourages its members to set aside Monday evenings as a time for families to attend social functions together.
The Monterrey La Raza have requested a one-year hiatus due to arena problems. The La Raza have played in the 4,000 seat Monterrey Tech arena since its inception but are currently in various discussions with both local and state officials in an effort to facilitate the completion of the brand new 17,500 seat "Arena Monterrey" project. La Raza owner Pedro Luis Duran has been closely involved in all aspects of the arena project. The arena which was put on hold for three years, is 75% complete and sits on the grounds of a new Sports complex being developed by the city of Monterrey and the state of Nuevo Leon. The facility earlier this year hosted a very successful Indy car race.
The World Indoor Soccer League has six North American based teams in Sacramento, San Diego, Calif., Dallas, Texas, St. Louis, Mo., Monterrey, Mexico, and Salt Lake City, Ut. The league is currently evaluating several new membership applications and hopes to grow to a minimum of ten clubs for the 2002 season. Talks are also continuing with interested parties looking to purchase and operate the Houston Hotshots franchise. The Arizona Thunder is expected to re-join the league for the start of the 2002 season following the finalization of arena discussions with America West Arena.
For more information, visit the WISL website at www.wisl.net.