After losing 13-1 on Nov. 17 in their debut in the Professional Indoor Soccer League (PASL) at Rio Grande Valley, the Texas Strikes will play their first home game on Saturday, Dec. 1 when the team hosts the Dallas Sidekicks (2-0) at 7 p.m.
This is the inaugural season of the Strikers of Beaumont, who will play eight home games in the 16-game PASL schedule. Ticket prices are $25 (field side), $18, $15 or $9.
“After one game, the competitive level is absolutely as high as I expected it to be,” said head coach Topper Cogan, who is also an assistant coach for the Lamar women’s soccer program. “Teams at this level are very good, very organized and play very fast. Our team has a sharp learning curve ahead of us because most of our players are primarily experienced in the outdoor game. They have a little to learn in terms of the pace, but they are training hard and are motivated. We are going to be competitive very quickly.”
This is not your kid’s soccer game — four 15-minute quarters of six-on-six action on a field approximately 200 feet long by 85 feet wide.
“If you are a true soccer fan, this game has the best parts of the game — shooting, tackling, saves and goals,” said Cogan. “In an outdoor game, you may have two or three goals with four or five shots. Our goalkeeper in the game against Rio Grande Valley made 35 saves. If you are new to soccer, this is what you want to see. These are all the highlights you see on television.”
The Strikers are the fourth professional team to call Ford Arena their home. The Texas Wildcatters hockey team lasted just four seasons; the Beaumont Drillers indoor football team moved over from the Civic Center but didn’t stay long; and the Southeast Texas Mustangs/Mavericks ABA basketball team played in the arena before heading out to Winnie to play at Nutty Jerry’s for owner Jerry Nelson.
Will soccer be the answer?
“My answer to that is twofold,” said Cogan. “The grass roots elements in soccer are tremendous. It’s multicultural and represents all social economic levels. Anyone can play soccer just about anywhere. The league we participate in is start simple and build up. We want this to work.”
For more information about the team, visit texasstrikerssoccer.com.
Chad Cooper can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 241, or by e-mail at cooper [at] theexaminer [dot] com.