Don’t Blink. Don’t think. Because if you do, you will miss the ball whip by you.
I am talking about The Fastest Game on Carpet. I am referring to the top professional indoor soccer league in North America, Major Arena Soccer League (MASL).
The MASL formed in 2014 after the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) and the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) decided to merge and become the premier indoor professional soccer league in North America.
With 17 active teams across the United States, and in Mexico, MASL is slowing gaining a following. Teams include Atletico Baja in Tijuana, Mexico (A roof covered outdoor venue with 200 seats, resembling the FIFA Street video game series), plus the Turlock Express (their arena looks like something out of an Area 51 hanger). However, most teams play in a traditional hockey arena, with carpet over a hockey rink. The MASL is slowly finding its niche within the North American sporting market.
Played in four 15 minute quarters, indoor soccer is fast. Each team has six a side, (five players, one goalkeeper). The goalkeeper can be a part of the attacking play if their team is down and needs an extra attacker. Indoor soccer allows for unlimited substitutions. Instead of yellow cards given for two-foot challenges, spitting, and other nasty minor occurrences, players are given a blue card and sent for a two-minute penalty.
Unlike outdoor soccer, which many say is dull and boring, indoor soccer is played at a rapid pace. It’s not uncommon to see games with 18-15, 10-9 score lines weekly. Players can bounce the ball off the boards, creating a whole new dynamic not seen in traditional soccer. Goalkeepers literally cannot blink. When players are shooting the ball at 80 miles per hour, goalkeepers must have laser focus, and strong hands to keep the ball out of the net. It’s what makes indoor soccer a refreshing alternative to outdoor soccer. It takes the best of both traditional footie, along with the fast-paced excitement of ice hockey.
While the MASL does not have the huge financial capabilities of other major North American sports leagues, its players give it a league with character.
Kraig Chiles is one of the MASL’s star players for the San Diego Sockers. Chiles had originally played five games for one season as part of Major League Soccer’s Chivas USA in 2008. He was released in 2009, and dabbled with the USL Premier Development’s Los Angeles Legends. However, it was in 2010 when his soccer career began to click. Chiles has won several league awards with the Sockers. He also recently scored his 300th goal for the club and became the club’s all-time leading scorer.
The Turlock Express Ivan Campos is one of their top players and provides a significant presence (literally) on the team. Campos came back to the Express this season after playing in Las Vegas and Detroit for four seasons. A knack for hitting the net, and sound indoor soccer abilities, Campos is beast on a team which has a small but loyal following of 700 fans every game at the Turlock Soccer Center.
While the MASL may not be the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, or MLS, it’s got something to offer a diverse sporting fan base as The Fastest Game on Carpet.
If you don’t believe me that the MASL is The Fastest Game on Carpet, then check out some of the best games which showcase this league so far this season.
Have you seen an indoor soccer game? What do you like about indoor soccer compared to traditional soccer? What do you like about the MASL? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.