2/21/11 - The month of March is rapidly becoming the biggest month in Cincinnati Kings history. On March 10-12 the Kings will not only play for the North American Championship, but their organization will host the tournament for the first time. On March 19 the Kings will travel to San Diego to vie for the US Open Arena Soccer Championship. Even their developmental team, the Kings Reserves, will be playing in the PASL-Premier national tournament on March 4-5. But before all that they will play the role of PASL-Pro ambassadors when they face the Milwaukee Wave of the Major Indoor Soccer League.
On March 2, the Kings will travel to US Cellular Arena to face the four-time champion Wave at a special School Day game time of 10:30am in what they hope will literally be an eye-opener. The 26 year old Wave, the longest running active soccer team in the country, will be favorites.
"The PASL-Pro is looking forward to the Kings playing the Wave," said PASL-Pro Commissioner Kevin Milliken. "We are hoping this is the first step for the leagues to begin play against each other, whether it is part of an international championship, US Open, or some regular season inter-league play. Our leagues have had a consistent dialogue over the past two years, looking for ways to work together on and off the field. I am confident the Kings will provide the professionalism that we expect, and will represent the PASL-Pro well and we have a lot of respect for the Milwaukee Wave organization and the cooperation they have provided in making this game a reality."
If the game seems to have a lot more at stake than a typical exhibition game, Kings Head Coach Craig Rhodis is quick to downplay its significance.
"I dont know that I want to make too much out of it," says Rhodis. " The reality is that this game is good for both teams; it’s that simple. They get an opponent for their school day game, we get a very competitive game a week before the playoffs. What better way to gauge our weaknesses going into the playoffs than to play a team like Milwaukee? With their experience they will expose what we need to work on. We won’t really focus on a win or loss, rather we will focus on using this game to improve for the league playoffs and getting our roster ready. Of course, our players are looking forward to gauging where they stand and we may give some of our younger players a taste of indoor soccer at this level as well."
Wave coach Keith Tozer sees the game as a novel opportunity for Wave fans to see a non-league challenger. "We are all very excited about showcasing one of the top teams in the PASL-Pro, the Cincinnati Kings," said Tozer. "We are expecting 5,000 students for our school day game so it should be very loud. The way we are approaching this game is that it is a great way for us to continue to market the great game of indoor soccer at the same time play against a very good team from the PASL Pro.”
The Kings are led by reigning MVP Jeff Hughes (27 goals, 9 assists, 36 points) and All-League goalkeeper Craig Salvati (11-1 4.69 GAA). They have won the Eastern Division title three straight years and currently sit at 12-2.
Milwaukee is second in the MISL with an 12-5 record, led by Marco Terminesi (19-16-35) and Giuliano Oliviero (14-10-24) and Goalkeeper of the Year Nick Vorberg (9-4 4.77 GAA).