League (PASL) has announced its schedule for the 2011/12 season as well as some cosmetic surgery on its official acronym.
In its first three seasons of existence the Professional Arena Soccer League was known as the PASL-Pro for short to distinguish it from the Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL-Premier). Going forward the two leagues will be referred to as the PASL and PASL-Premier.
"The league has gotten to the point in terms of national recognition where the professional league deserved a cleaner, stand-alone look," said league commissioner Kevin Milliken. The formal names as well as the logos for both leagues will remain unchanged.
The PASL's fourth season will kick off on November 4 with the Tacoma Stars traveling to the expansion Turlock Express. The regular season concludes February 26 with the Stars visiting the expansion Anaheim Bolts.
Once again, each team will play 16 games. Both the Eastern and Western Divisions have been expanded to six teams giving the PASL a record 12 teams.
For the first time, the PASL teams won't have Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League opponents on their regular season schedule. The CMISL will finalize its roster of teams shortly and produce its own schedule, which might include some PASL opponents. In that case those games would count only in the CMISL standings.
The Express and Bolts join the Phoenix Monsoon as expansion teams in the Western Division, which lost the California Cougars. The Illinois Piasa moved to the Eastern Division after playing in last year's Frontier Division and the expansion Kansas Magic join last year's four returning teams.
The complete schedule can be viewed online.
Seven of the 12 teams will qualify for the playoffs, with the PASL having its own independent playoffs for the first time. San Diego, which will host the four team final on March 9-10, and the next top two teams in the Western Division will qualify as well as the top four teams in the Eastern Division. The defending champion San Diego Sockers will have a first round bye while the other six teams engage in localized single elimination wild card games with the winners heading to San Diego.
"We continue to trend in a positive direction and we already have expansion for next year in the pipeline," said Milliken. "This year's expansion allowed us to streamline the schedule with more local rivalries and less travel, which will allow our teams to be financially successful and spur further growth."