The Missouri Comets will be able to keep the rivalry with the St. Louis Ambush and several other regional teams.
The Major Arena Soccer League – which the Comets joined after the Major Indoor Soccer League folded after last season – announced its divisional alignment for the 2014-15 inaugural season Wednesday.
The Comets, who won last year’s final MISL championship, will be part of the six-team Central Division, one of four divisions in the 23-team MASL. The remaining MISL teams merged with the remaining Professional Arena Soccer League teams to form the MASL in May.
The Comets, who play their home games in the Independence Events Center, will be with former MISL foes St. Louis and the Milwaukee Wave along with the Chicago Mustangs, Tulsa Revolution and Wichita B-52s in the Central Division.
“This alignment allows us to create new, close rivalries while maintaining old ones with our counterparts in Milwaukee and St. Louis,” Comets team president Brian Budzinski said in a prepared statement. “It also gives our fans multiple opportunities to support the Comets on the road with so many opponents within driving distance to Kansas City.”
The Central Division appears to be one of the MASL’s more competitive divisions, including reigning PASL champion Chicago, the reigning MISL champions Comets and 2011 and 2012 MISL champions Milwaukee.
The MASL originally announced it would have 24 teams, but said Wednesday that 23 teams will play the 2014-15 season. In addition to the Central, the divisions will also include the Eastern, Southern and Pacific.
Five teams will compose the Eastern Division: the Baltimore Blast, Harrisburg (Pa.) Heat, Rochester (N.Y.) Lancers, Syracuse Silver Knights and Detroit Waza Flo.
The Southern Division will feature six teams, all from Texas and Mexico: the Dallas Sidekicks, Monterrey (Mexico) Flash, Hidalgo La Fiera, Brownsville Barracudas, Saltillo (Mexico) Rancho Seco and Oxford City Football Club of Texas (formerly the Texas Strikers). Oxford City FC bought the Strikers last week and will play in Ford Arena in the Beaumont, Texas, area. The team name and nickname will be announced later.
The San Diego Sockers, Las Vegas Legends, Ontario (Calif.) Fury, Seattle Impact, Turlock (Calif.) Express, and Sacramento Surge will make up the Pacific Division.
The league said that every team will face each of its divisional rivals at least one time home and away.
The Comets are slated to kick off the MASL inaugural season’s schedule on Oct. 25 when they will travel to play the Dallas Sidekicks at the Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas. The rest of the MASL schedule, the playoff format and league rules will be announced at a later date, the league said.
The MASL also announced Wednesday that it has launched its website, www.maslsoccer.com, in partnership with former PASL and MISL partner Pointstreak Sports.