This is the first of what are planned to be monthly summaries of under-the-radar soccer stories from around Texas. The focus of this series will be on players, teams and leagues that don’t receive much coverage outside of their local communities. Stories from non-metropolitan areas of the state will also be a regular focus.

Tatu Named Head Coach of Expansion MASL Team

Major Arena Indoor Soccer (MASL) is the first division of indoor/arena soccer in North America. The league featured 17 teams from the U.S., Canada and Mexico in its 2018/19 season that concluded in the spring.

Tatu, who was a legendary indoor player with the Dallas Sidekicks from 1984-2003, was named head coach of the Mesquite Outlaws, a new MASL expansion team in the DFW area, two weeks ago. Tatu, who previously coached the Sidekicks, has also been involved in the growth of Texas indoor soccer since the 1980’s when he partnered with Francisco Marcos to form the first professional soccer team in Austin, the Southwest Indoor Soccer League (SISL) Sockadillos. SISL is the original predecessor of today’s United Soccer League (USL).

The Outlaws and Sidekicks (who play their matches in Allen) are the two Texas teams who will begin play in the 2019/20 MASL season later this fall. Two teams competing in 2018/19, El Paso Coyotes and RGV Barracudas, will drop down to play in the MASL second division next season. According to the league website, the Coyotes are finalizing plans to move to Austin. Further details on the Outlaws and Tatu can be found in the link below.

https://www.maslsoccer.com/news/icon-tatu-selected-as-mesquite-outlaws-head-coach

Summer Amateur National League Seasons End

Texas teams play in four mens and womens amateur spring/summer leagues that primarily feature college players getting ready for their upcoming NCAA/NAIA seasons.

National Premier Soccer League (NPSL):

Midland-Odessa FC (9-1-2) was the regular season Lone Star Conference champion. Ft. Worth Vaqueros (7-2-3) won two Lone Star playoff matches to advance to the Southern Region semifinals, where they lost to Tulsa. The overall NPSL national title will be determined on Saturday when NY Cosmos 2 play Miami FC. Two Lone Star players, forwards Jamie Lovegrove from the Vaqueros and Sam Garza from Denton Diablos FC, were named to the Southern Conference Best IX. The Lone Star Best IX can be found in the link below:

https://www.npsl.com/12275/

United Soccer League Two (USL 2)

USL 2 will crown a champion on Saturday when Reading United meets Flint City Bucks. The Mid South Division regular season was won by Brazos Valley Cavalry who finished their undefeated season with a 10-0-4 record. The Cavalry, who also had the best record in the Southern Conference regular season, won their opening playoff match, but fell in the Conference Finals. The Cavalry placed 4 players on the USL 2 Top 50 Prospects List: Defender Mark Lindstrom, forwards Kyle Edwards (UTRGV) and Philip Goodrum and Goalkeeper Chase Vosvick. Forward Olive Wright (St. Mary’s) from Corpus Christi FC was also part of the Top 50.

Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL)

Texas teams played in two divisions of the Red River Conference. The North Division winner was won by an Oklahoma team, undefeated Tulsa Fortuna. The South Division winner was Houston based TTi Bluebonnets (8-1-1). Pensacola (FL) FC won the WPSL Championship.

United Women’s Soccer (UWS):

Houston Aces, who were the 2018 UWS National Champions, finished at the top of the UWS Southwest Conference this season with a 6-0-0 record. The Aces lost an opening round playoff match to the eventual 2019 UWS Champions, LA Galaxy Orange County. Southwest Conference All-Conference team below:

https://www.uwssoccer.com/news_article/show/1038701%E2%80%AC

UPSL National Championship Hosted by Weatherford FC

North Texas Weatherford FC hosted the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) National Championship last weekend. UPSL is a national amateur league with over 300 teams, more than 30 of which play in Texas. Florida Tropics FC defeated Murcielagos SLC from Utah to win the championship.

UPSL Texas teams play in two conferences, Central and Southwest, to minimize travel time and costs. Southwest FC from El Paso, who won the Southwest Conference and advanced through the playoffs to be one of the four teams playing in Weatherford, lost in the semifinal round. Oklahoma’s OKC 1889 defeated 2018 Fall National Finalist Inocentes FC (Ft. Worth) to win the Central Conference playoff Final. UPSL differs from other amateur leagues by playing a year-round season and implementing a promotion relegation system when conferences have a sufficient number of clubs. Weatherford FC is one of the clubs that will be promoted in the Spring season, moving up to Division I in the Central Conference North Division.

SA Sporti FC won the inaugural UPSL Women’s Central Conference Championship when they defeated Samba FC San Antonio.

FC Waco’s Jorge DeLeon won the fan-voted UPSL Men’s Goal of the Year contest:

FC Amarillo Bombers Win Championship of New Indoor Soccer League

FC Amarillo Bombers defeated Wichita Falls Falls Town Flyers 16-8 last weekend to win the inaugural championship of the indoor soccer US Arena Professional Soccer League (USAPSL).

The USAPSL is currently composed of four teams in West and North Texas. The league eventually plans to expand its footprint to include clubs in 13 states throughout the Midwest, Southwest and Rocky Mountains. West Texas would seem to be a curious place to start a new league, but the early days of indoor soccer in the Eighties included teams like the Amarillo Challengers, Lubbock Lazers and Permian Basin Shooting Stars. The league was founded by Amarillo entrepreneur Stephanie Tucker and other partners. Tucker has extensive experience in the sports industry and she and her husband previously owned and operated an indoor football team in Amarillo.

Strategic Alliance Formed in Brownsville to Provide Professional Soccer Opportunities for Local Players

Community partners in Brownsville are forming an alliance to start a soccer academy with the goal of providing opportunities for local youth players to play professionally in Spain and other countries. In attendance at a Brownsville press conference last month was Joaquin del Olmo, a former Mexican International who now is a consultant for Spanish LaLiga Segunda side Real Oviedo. Oviedo already have a Brownsville player, Fernando Barrientos, in their youth set up in Spain. Grupo Fresamex, a border logistics company, has been working on this project since 2015. Once local partners agree, they believe a league can be operating within a year. Further details: