The Major Arena Soccer League fall meeting is taking place in Independence at the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center, and commissioner Josh Schaub is in attendance.
He likes what he sees with the new ownership group and the future of the Kansas City Comets. The 2018-19 MASL season marks the third for Schaub, who was a minor league baseball team owner/CEO, an adjunct law school professor (sports law) and an associate scout for the Milwaukee Brewers.
“I really like what I am seeing here in Independence with the Comets and around the league,” Schaub said. “Three years ago, in my first year as commissioner, we had 18 teams. We now have 31 teams and our first team in Canada. We’re definitely heading in the right direction.”
KC Comets LLC, a subsidiary of Game Theory Ventures, is the new ownership group that is led by Colin Weaver, the face, and managing director of the group.
“We’re so happy the commissioner is here in Independence,” Weaver said. “I love the passion and I energy I get when I come to Independence and Blue Springs and Eastern Jackson County. We want to have a real presence in the community. We want to get our players into the schools and working with the youth programs.
“I want everyone to be as excited about the upcoming season as I am.”
The fall meetings began with a focus on the field of play. Ryan Cigich, head of MASL officials, discussed some of the upcoming points of emphasis for the upcoming season. These are rules that may have already been in place, but he said the referees will be putting a special focus on implementing those rules. The points of emphasis will be on hits and contact above the shoulder, embellishment and the overall pace of play. Cigich said protecting the safety of the players while enhancing the entertainment of the game was the reason for focusing on these rules.
With the change in the league’s calendar to start in December, different roster dates also were established. Players can be transferred from one team to another up until Feb. 21, 2019. And teams can sign players who aren’t under contract to their team until March 7, 2019.
Also established in Thursday’s meetings was a new disciplinary committee to handle any on-field incidents that require extra attention. The committee will consist of an experienced former player and experienced former referee and league executives.
On the field, there were several other changes for this season:
• Goalkeepers will now be exempt from the three-line rule when distributing the ball with a throw.
• Goalkeepers cannot cross the midfield line with the ball until the fourth quarter.
• Goalkeepers will be limited to four seconds with possession of the ball.
• A player who is on the field as a sixth attacker will now have to serve any timed penalty called against that team. Previously, they were treated as a normal goalkeeper and a field player could serve their timed penalties.
• A sixth attacker must be a designated field player and not a backup goalkeeper.
• Teams will now have two timeouts to use at any time in each game.
• Media timeouts will still be used in each quarter and not be charged to either team.
• Teams are allowed to dress 15 players each game during the regular season. In the playoffs, teams will be allowed to dress 16 players, as long as that extra player is a designated goalkeeper.