Cleveland Crunch launched as newest member of Major Arena Soccer League 2
TAMPA, Florida– Another iconic franchise in the history of professional indoor soccer will be coming back to the field in Major Arena Soccer League 2.
The Cleveland Crunch, which won three championships during its 14 seasons in both the Major Indoor Soccer League and National Professional Soccer League, will become M2’s newest franchise.
“It’s always exciting when you can bring back great franchises from the past. The Crunch name holds a special place in the hearts of soccer fans in northeast Ohio,” M2 Commissioner Chris Economides said. “Past stars like Hector Marinaro, Zoran Karic and Otto Orf were the leaders of those championship teams, and we look forward to a new generation of Crunch stars stepping forward in the coming years to establish their place in Cleveland’s rich pro indoor soccer history.”
Eric Davis, president and majority owner of the reincarnated Crunch, and Luciano Ruscitto, vice president and majority owner, have both been thrilled by the reception the team’s re-birth has created.
"The excitement surrounding our return to professional indoor soccer in Cleveland has been very thrilling. I think it's great that it's been so well received by not only the fans of the old Crunch legacy but the new fans as well, who were born after the Crunch's folding in the early 2000s,” Davis said. “Luciano and I knew that as soon as we committed to this venture that there was a gap we needed to bridge between the generations considering the franchise being absent for nearly 20 years, and I think our team has responded to the task phenomenally."
Deputy Commissioner Andrew Ross said a Cleveland franchise is an essential piece in M2's growth plan.
“This allows us to pave the way east, where I think we’ll see a number of franchises located in the not too distant future,” Ross said. “We continue to have great discussions with a number of potential owners and franchises in that part of the country, both new cities and cities that have established great past indoor soccer success in their markets. Cleveland will be the first of many that will help us expand the geographic footprint of the sport and the league.”
With a roster in place and training camp under way, the Crunch hosted Milwaukee's Brew City Legends FC in a friendly match on Feb. 27 at the team’s training facility in North Olmsted. The limited number of tickets that were available for sale to the game sold out in 48 minutes.
A convincing 12-4 victory was the end result for the Crunch behind the three-goal (four total points) man-of-the match performance of midfielder, Mike Dezeric. Forward, Ma’Cain Spragling (two goals), and goalkeeper, Marijo Musa (nine saves, two assists), both played a key role in the big win,as well. The pair of former MASL Mesquite Outlaws are among several other players with indoor soccer experience that make up the Crunch roster.
For new teams, building out a talented roster of players who are ready to compete right away can be a challenging task, however, that was not exactly the case for the Crunch.
“There is no questioning the level of soccer talent that exists throughout Northeast Ohio. Going into this we knew that we could get enough players to field a competitive team, we just had to figure everything else out first.” Ruscitto said. “Most of the guys on the roster have been playing together for years and it shows with the level of chemistry that they display on and off the field.”
“The Crunch has been a model launch for all new M2 teams with strong community and sponsor support right from the start,” Economides added. “They are building a talented and locally-focused roster that will be extremely competitive and entertaining with any M2 side right out of the gate.”
The Crunch is scheduled to take the field for their Major Arena Soccer League 2 debut on Saturday, March 20, at home vs the Colorado Inferno FC. For more information on the team, visit www.theclevelandcrunch.com, or follow the Cleveland Crunch on social media.