Utica's United Elite Krajisnik FC will join MASL 2 to become 19th team for 2023-24 season
TAMPA, Florida – Utica-based United Elite Krajisnik FC will become the 19h franchise in Major Arena Soccer League 2, joining for the 2024-23 season, and will serve as the official M2 affiliate of Utica City FC, one of the most respected franchises in the Major Arena Soccer League.
M2 will have a record number of teams on board for the 2023-24 season. All 15 teams from last year return, with the St. Louis Ambush 2, Orlando Atletico and Baltimore Arsenal having already been announced to join the league this fall.
“We said when the Rochester Lancers 2 joined us last year that it would set the foundation for expansion in the northeast and Atlantic regions, and the addition of United Elite FC is M2 fulfilling that promise,” Commissioner Chris Economides noted. “United Elite FC is an extremely well-respected club with a great local history who has already been a close partner of UCFC, so this next step is the natural extension of that relationship.”
Economides said a controlled, professional, financially prudent approach to become the leader of the second tier of pro indoor soccer in the United States serves as the cornerstones for all league decisions.
“It’s testimony to the great owners and markets we’ve established – and to raising the standards on everything we do every year -- that everyone returns for our seventh season. United Elite fits all those criteria and standards and then some.,” Economides said. “We’ve also announced and approved Santa Fe and Central Wisconsin as approved franchises for 2024-25, and have several other top notch applications for teams to start that season which will continue to brand us as the place to play pro indoor soccer if you’re not in the MASL.”
United Elite FC was founded in 2017 by team owner and coach Anel Pajazetovic, and today has over 600 members, starting at age three covering rec, travel and academy level teams and moving all the way to the adult play highlighted by a men’s team in the United Premier Soccer League and a women’s team in the UPSL’s women’s league as well.
"We are very excited to be able to extend the opportunity for United Elite Krajisnik to be Utica City Football Club’s M2 affiliate," said UCFC General Manager Tommy Tanner. "This affiliation will provide a great opportunity for our players to develop, and our fans to watch the future of the league. United Elite Krajisnik’s commitment to excellence and development aligns perfectly with Utica City FC's vision, making this affiliation a natural fit."
“I appreciate Tommy and his whole UCFC team on and off the floor for their support and giving us this opportunity,” Pajazetovic said. “Having two indoor teams in the same city is a big deal, and it’s a big jump for our club, but now we have a pathway for our players for both outdoor and indoor. It’s been a journey but it’s building and this is a natural next step. I‘m excited and our investors are pretty excited as well.”
The new M2 team is planning on playing at least some of their home games at the Adirondack Bank Center arena as part of indoor soccer doubleheaders with UCFC, and some of their home games in the attached Utica University Nexus Center, a brand new 1,500 seat arena, site of the three-day MASL Player Combine in mid October. United Elite will play in the east division of the 19-team league – a division which currently includes the Arsenal (official affiliate of the MASL Baltimore Blast, Rochester Lancers2 and Orlando who will play all 12 of their regular season games on the road while they build their own home facility -- with a full divisional schedule to be released shortly as well.
United Elite FC and UCFC have actually already partnered on a number of occasions over the past few seasons.
“When they first came in, we were big supporters, attending their games, and helping them with tournaments and camps. I’ve known Tommy for a long time on our youth side, and built a strong relationship through that,” Pajazetovic added.