Preparations for this moment have been in motion for a year, but the press conference on the 4th floor of the Family Arena on June 18th formally announced the new St. Louis team in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL). The team will be called the St. Louis Ambush. The name links back to the St. Louis entry in the old National Professional Soccer League (NPSL), which played in St. Louis from 1992-2000.
Mark Reifsteck, the General Manager of the Family Arena, opened the press conference before giving way to various St. Charles political officials such as St. Charles Mayor Sally Faith and St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann.
As head coach Daryl Doran would mention later in the press conference, the lack of local ownership plagued other recent attempts to resurrect indoor soccer in the area. The Ambush franchise is owned by three couples; Andrew and Leah Haines, Will and Shelly Clark and Glen and Dawn Goldstein. Andrew Haines will serve as Chief Executive Officer of the franchise and Leah will serve as President. The Haines family also owns the Missouri Monsters indoor football team that recently completed their first season of play at the Family Arena. Glen Goldstein touched on his CYC soccer-playing days growing up in St. Louis as a reason for getting involved with the Ambush. He got a round of laughter from the packed room when he said that he grew up playing against some of the best local talent and was often the guy that they were dribbling around. His cousin, Don Ebert, won a NCAA National Championship with Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in 1979 and won the Rookie-of-the-year Award in 1980 playing for the St. Louis Steamers of the old MISL.
Shelly Cook took the podium to say that her motivation for getting involved was that her family had lived in St. Charles for 12 years and she wanted to help create a great family-friendly activity close to home.
In another nod to reflecting the rich history of soccer in St. Louis, Goldstein told a story of meeting a father who thanked him for helping to bring the indoor sport back to the area. He said some of the fondest memories he had from his childhood were the ones that involved watching the St. Louis Steamers play at “The Checkerdome”, a nickname for the old St. Louis Arena that the Steamers, Storm and Ambush all called home at one time or another. The father was thankful that he would now be able to create those memories with his own son.
The team also announced the formation of the St. Louis Ambush Advisory Board, which will include familiar faces such as Pat Berry, Tony Glavin and Bill McDermott.
Andrew Haines said that when he first decided to bring an MISL franchise to town, he knew that Daryl Doran needed to be the head coach. Doran took the podium to express how pleased he was with the local ownership behind the Ambush. He commented that with no expansion draft or the like in the MISL, local talent will be largely used to field a competitive team on the field. Open tryouts for the team will be held on August 3rd and 4th. More information can be found on the team website.
The Ambush will begin play in October. The media packet says that the home opener is currently scheduled for October 12th. The Ambush ownership spoke of their goal to make the games highly entertaining and family-friendly with giveaways, promotions and entertainment. The franchise has acquired the original Ambush logo with plans for “throwback nights”.
The MISL operated with seven teams last season including the Missouri Comets, who play in Independence, Missouri. The Milwaukee Blast won the MISL Championship 2-0 over the Comets. In 91 total league games, the teams average 4,143 fans per game. The Rochester franchise averaged a league-high 5,975 whereas the Chicago franchise averaged league-low 1,902 fans per game. The first professional indoor soccer game in St. Louis, on December 14, 1979, drew over 18,000 to watch the St. Louis Steamers play. As recently as 2006, the Steamers drew 16,061 fans to then-Scottrade Center for an MISL Championship game that was televised on ESPN2
Tickets will range from $15-$47 for single-game tickets and season tickets for the entire 13-game season can be had from $195-$611.
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