With no Bath City match last Monday, and the chances of Friday's game not 100%, I thought I would take a moment to examine one of my footballing guilty pleasures: Indoor Soccer.
I know that real football fans are supposed to turn up their noses at the indoor game. We should behave like a gourmet chef if he was served a chip butty. I'm not a gourmet chef, though. I like chip butties. I also like indoor soccer.
Between 1984 when the old NASL folded, and 1996 when the MLS began play, there was no serious outdoor soccer league in America. It seems strange to think of it now, but the only 'football' on television was the indoor sort. Clubs, and entire leagues, came and went with alarming regularity, but the sport managed to hang on to the fringes of the American sporting scene by its fingertips. The fast pace, high scoring, and accessible tactics are a potent enough combination (just) for two professional leagues to continue today. The team I keep an eye on is the Milwaukee Wave of the Major Indoor Soccer League (the 3rd incarnation of this league).
I support the Wave for two reasons. One is that they are the oldest professional indoor club in the country. Founded in 1984, they are perhaps the only indoor club to ever field players who were born after the club's founding. The second reason is that they are managed by Keith Tozer. I'm not sure Mr. Tozer and I ever met, but he was the manager at the Atlanta Attack when I worked there briefly in 1989 (I think I handed him a couple of phone messages - see here). He's been in place in Milwaukee since 1992, and since 1996 he's managed the US Futsal team as well. Anyone who has managed to survive, let alone succeed, in such a volatile environment deserves admiration.
The Wave began this season in their third league in three years (the previous seasons being in the MISL, mark 2, and the late 'Xtreme Football League'). They are in second place in the league (of five clubs) with a record of three wins and two losses. Their most recent match was last Sunday, and it was one of those scoring extravaganzas that makes the indoor game so appealing. In extra time the Wave defeated Monterrey La Raza (a Mexican team) 19-17. I've embedded a highlights clip below for your enjoyment.
Here's another reason you might want to get acquainted with the indoor game: all MISL matches are streamed live over the Internet for free! This is through official websites - you will not be needed to log your private details with anyone in China or Iraq. So, the next time you are catching up with the Bath City message board, or looking for Premiership transfer rumours, why not check out an indoor match? The next Milwaukee wave match is tomorrow night on New Year's Eve. They will be taking on the Baltimore Blast at 8pm GMT. Something to do before you go out partying.
Here's the clip I promised earlier. I won't explain all the rule variations, but be aware that a normal goal counts for two points, and a goal from behind the second white arc counts for three (I assume if you are a football purist you stop reading this article long ago). Go ahead and enjoy it. I won't tell anyone.