Goalkeeper Nicolau Neto returning to Comets on a two-year contract

By Bill Althaus
The Examiner
Kansas City Comets goalkeeper Nicolau Neto pumps his fist to celebrate a 7-6 come-from-behind victory over the Ontario Fury in the MASL playoffs last season. Neto has signed a two-year contract to remain with the Comets.

Nicolau Neto, who played such a key role in the Kansas City Comets success last season, is returning to the Major Arena Soccer League club. 

Neto signed a two-year contract with the Comets, the team announced Monday morning. 

Neto starred for the Comets, who made a successful run in the playoffs before falling 2-1 to the Ontario Fury in a dramatic decisive mini-game that left them just a step away from the MASL championship series. 

“It feels great to extend my contract with the Comets,” Neto said. “Kansas City feels like home to me now, and I can’t wait to be back with the boys and make this upcoming season a really special one.”  

Coach Leo Gibson believes Neto’s signing signals something special for the upcoming season. 

Kansas City Comets goalkeeper Nicolau Neto fist-bumps fans through the glass to celebrate a playoff victory over the St. Louis Ambush last season. Neto is returning to the Comets after signing a two-year contract.

“We just announced that we signed (forward) Adam (James), and now with the signing of Neto, it shows how committed this team is to winning,” Gibson said. 

“Neto is one of the rising young stars in our league and he made so much progress last season. He is an important part to our offseason puzzle and I hope everyone is as excited as I am about this announcement.” 

Neto made his Comets debut during the 2019-20 season, appearing in 11 games and finishing with a 6.94 goals against average.  

Last season, Neto appeared in the first MASL All Star Game which was held at Cable Dahmer Arena and gave up one goal. During the COVID-19 pandemic-abbreviated 2021 regular season in which he earned All-MASL honorable mention honors, Neto appeared in 10 games and finished with a 5.74 goals against average.  

He finished third in the league last season in total saves with 139 and led the MASL in save percentage during the playoffs. He had the second most saves in the playoffs with 78, which was only one save behind the leader, Ontario’s Claysson De Lima. 

“Neto has shown a lot of growth and maturity in the few seasons he has been playing this game,” Gibson said. “We are very excited to have him back for another two years.” 

Neto, a native of Jaurezeiro do Notre-Ceara, Brazil, came to the United States in 2016 to play collegiate soccer for Columbia College in Columbia, Mo.. There he was named American Midwest Conference Player of the Year, AMC Newcomer of the Year and all-conference first-team.  

In addition, Neto was named an NAIA All-American and made the national championship All-Tournament Team. 

“I am so excited to have Neto back,” said Comets Hall of Famer and goalkeeper coach, Alan Mayer. “He’s one of the top goalkeepers in the league and will play a key role in helping the Comets win another championship.”