Sockers 2 Ortiz is Coach of year, Rojo is Most Valuable Player in M2

TAMPA -- Having won its second Major Arena Soccer League 2 championship in the last three seasons, it's no surprise that the San Diego Sockers 2 have swept the final two awards of the recently completed 2021-22 season.

Rene Ortiz has been named Coach of the Year, and Ismael Rojo has been named Most Valuable Player to cap a remarkable season for the entire organization. The Major Arena Soccer League Sockers did not lose a game in regulation time all year in rolling to their 16th professional indoor soccer championship in early May.

"It's pretty clear that the Sockers are the consummate professional indoor soccer organization in the country," M2 Commissioner Chris Economides noted. "They do everything right, on and off the field. They are a model for every other pro indoor soccer team in the country to emulate. It's no coincidence that in their three years of M2 play, they have been in the championship game every season, and have won two of them.They embrace everything that is great about the sport and its impact in the community."

Ortiz,, in addition to leading the M2 side, has been the top bench consultant to Phil Salvagio as the Sockers captured the 2021 and 2022 Ron Newman Cup. , IOrtiz’s  now has five  top-division championship with the Sockers, having earned three rings as a player from 1988-90. In addition, Ortiz was the head coach of the Mexican National Indoor Soccer Team, having led the squad to a perfect 7-0 record and the 2019 WMF World Cup championship in Perth, Australia.

In three years at the Sockers 2 helm, Ortiz is 30-6 in the regular season and 6-1overall in the post-season. In his14-year  professional indoor playing career, Ortiz scored 174 goals and recorded 120 assists in his 307 regular season games  with the San Diego Sockers,  Milwaukee Wave, Cincinnati Silverbacks, Dallas Burn, Monterrey La Raza and Arizona Thunder.

As the Sockers leading scorer, Rojo averaged just under two points a game during the regular season in leading San Diego to a Western Division title at 11-1. The Sockers needed overtime in both their playoff and semi-finals wins, with Rojo scoring twice in a 6-5 win over the RGV Barracudas and then was named the games first-star with two goals and an assist in a 9-8 triumph over the Muskegon Risers to advance San Diego to the title game. His second was the game winner with just 85 seconds left in the first overtime period.

Against the defending champion Crunch, Rojo assisted on the game winning goal, in addition to adding two goals of his own, in the deciding 7-4 triumph over Cleveland to secure the title.

Rojo came to the team's attention during a tryout for the Sockers at their annual open showcase in 2017-18 and was signed to the MASL2 roster for the 2018-19 season. Appearing in 11 games for Sockers-2 that year, Rojo scored 12 goals from the backline, adding six assists for an 18-point season (1.63 points per game). The Sockers-2 went 12-0 and won twice in the playoffs for a perfect season and a MASL2 championship, with Rojo named a 2nd Team All-MASL Defender.

"It was a great 2021-22 season, incredibly competitive games, especially in the playoffs," Economides added. "To say the Sockers earned their championship would be an understatement, and it was great to see some other teams like Muskegon and Omaha make deep runs into the post-season and just miss out on the title game. We have already announced the Iowa Raptors as our 14th team starring next year, and there is more big news to come. The off-season will be a busy one for us in the M2 offices, and we can't wait to take on the challenge of continuing to see this fabulous sport grow."