The first Major Arena Soccer League’s all-league team has many familiar faces.
Four members of the undefeated Missouri Comets are featured on the first All-MASL team – including unanimous selections Leo Gibson at forward and midfielder Vahid Assadpour.
Joining Gibson and Assadpour on the first team are defenders Brian Harris and John Sosa. Goaltender Danny Waltman headlines the second team.
“When you go 20-0 in a regular season, you don’t do that by fluke,” said Assadpour, the team captain who was fourth in the league with 61 points on 36 goals and 25 assists. “We had four players on the first team, five overall – and I believe we could have had even more players on the team. But the only award or honor any of us care about winning is the MASL championship.”
And that quest begins at 7:05 p.m. Thursday when the Comets play host to the Milwaukee Wave at the Independence Events Center. Tickets in all price ranges remain for the game.
“The best thing about an honor like this,” Gibson said, “is sharing it with my teammates. My teammates mean so much to me. This has been such a special season because we are undefeated and we win the right way. When Vlatko (Andonovski) announced the team at practice this morning, I was so happy – not so much for myself, but for Vahid and John and Harris and Danny being on the same team with me. They are great teammates and great friends. That’s what makes it so special.”
Gibson set the new standard for scoring in the first-year MASL with 93 points on 48 goals and 45 assists. He also had 15 power-play goals.
“Leo did it all this season,” said Assadpour, who has been a teammate of Gibson’s since their playing days in Detroit. “But you could say that about anyone on the team.”
Sosa was third in points for the Comets among defenders with 37. He added 14 blocked shots and received the most votes in the league at the defender position.
Harris, the MVP from last year’s MISL championship game, scored 36 points, had 18 blocked shots and was 1-0 with a 5.52 goals against average when he stepped in for the injured Waltman in goal as a sixth attacker.
Baltimore Blast goalkeeper William Vanzela edged Waltman for first-team goalie as he finished the season with a 14-2 record and 2.83 goals against average. He had four of the league’s six shutouts this season. Vanzela’s teammate, defender Pat Healey, was also named to the first team. He led the 18-2 Blast with 22 assists while adding seven goals and a league-leading 53 blocked shots.
San Diego Sockers forward Kraig Chiles rounds out the first team. The three-time PASL MVP was honored with all-league status for the fifth season in a row. He had 45 goals and 17 assists for the 16-4 Sockers.
Waltman, who led the league with 17 wins, headlines the second team. He is joined by Rochester Lancers forward Mauricio Salles, St. Louis Ambush rookie forward Gordy Gurson, Ontario midfielder Tiguinho Dias, Sockers defender Eduardo Velez and Wichita B-52s defender Alex Moseley.
The third team consisted of San Diego Sockers goalkeeper Chris Toth, San Diego forward Nick Perera, Dallas Sidekicks forward Freddy Moojen, Oxford City FC midfielder Lucas Totti, Las Vegas Legends defender Enrique Tovar and Syracuse Silver Knights defender Nelson Santana.
The finalists for Most Valuable Player, Goalkeeper of the Year, Defender of the Year, Coach of the Year and Rookie of the Year will be announced Thursday. The final award winners will be announced during the week of the Ron Newman Cup Finals.