The Milwaukee Wave kicks off their 26th season this Sunday (12-6) with a game against La Raza de Monterrey.
First, the Xtreme Soccer League (XSL) "lifestyle brand" didn't have a very long life. The league folded this summer, and the other three teams went out of business, too; the New Jersey Ironmen, Detroit Ignition (whose owner reportedly folded the team instead of having to deal with one of the National Indoor Soccer League [NISL]'s owners) and the Chicago Storm (heck, even the Storm's arena folded!)
The Wave, clinging to life support, did get the owner they needed in Jim Lindenberg and they joined the NISL. Well, sort of (try to keep up). A month ago, the NISL announced that they were going back to the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) moniker - that was the name of the league that folded the previous spring to eliminate voting privileges of owners of defunct franchises.
So everything old is new is old again. I think.
The bottom line is that the MISL V3.0 has five teams, most of which should be familiar to Wave fans; La Raza de Monterrey, Baltimore Blast, Philadelphia KiXX and Rockford Rampage. Last season, Baltimore beat Rockford for the league title, which makes two consecutive league titles for Baltimore (having won the 2007-08 MISL V2.0 title in Milwaukee over Monterrey), and two consecutive league final appearances for Rockford (including their previous entry in the American Indoor Soccer League [AISL], which I believe no longer exists either).
(Side note; Another cool thing about the Rockford Rampage is that one of their players - Bato Radoncic - played for the Milwaukee Rampage during their last championship season in 2002. Because I am sure that kind of information excites you as it does I).
OK, so are you still with me?
This year's version of the Milwaukee Wave begun the road portion of the schedule on Sunday, November 22 with a 15-0 whitewashing of La Raza in Monterrey - the first road shutout in the team's 26 year history. They followed that with a trip to Rockford last Friday, November 27 with a loss to the Rampage when Jamar Beasley (who also played two games with the Milwaukee Rampage in 2001) scored a goal in the final minute to hand the Wave a 9-8 loss.
Staying with the old is new is old theme are a few players joining this year's squad. Gone is the venerable Lovelace Ackah who retired, as well as former MISL MVP Dino Delevski, and non-MVPs Chico, Chad Burt and Jacek Prezdnowek. Coming back are Kyt Selaidopoulos (Detroit) and Hewerton (Philadelphia) after a couple of years, joining newcomers Ryan Mack (Detroit), Ian Bennett (Chicago) and Josh Rife (Detroit). Unfortunately, super-newcomer-a-couple-of-years-ago, Marcio Leite, reinjured his knee and will miss his second consecutive season.
Hopefully with a new owner and an old/new/old league, attendance can increase and bring some stability to this proud franchise. If you can't get to the game this Sunday, you do have ten more chances. Bring your family, and have some fun. Who knows, after playing in a league with four teams last year and five teams this year, all the switcherooing will be behind us and the sport can begin to expand again.