Happy Holidays from the MASL

by Jeff Husted

Most of the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) teams are idle this week as the league celebrates the holidays. For many of the players, that means some time to rest, relax and enjoy some time with family.

The MASL season can be hectic with games nearly every weekend from November through the middle of March. Some players are far away from home throughout that time, so any chance to be with family is sacred.

Cedar Rapids midfielder Gordy Gurson is especially looking forward to going home this year. “The last two seasons, I wasn’t able to go home. I missed it quite a bit so I’m real excited to come see everyone this year.”

“I’m staying local this year, but spending lots of time with family,” said San Diego Sockers forward Kraig Chiles. “I’ll be heading to LA for a couple days to spend time with my Dad, then back to San Diego for time with my Mom and my wife’s family.”

This season is special for Chiles. With three kids under the age of three, this year is the first one where everyone is really able to get into the Christmas spirit.

“My daughter is two and a half now and is really starting to understand the concept of Santa. She finally gets that he is watching for when she is bad or good.”

Traditions are very important at the holidays. MASL Commissioner Joshua Schaub is going home to ice fishing with his dad, and Vice President of Operations Jon Ramin heads back to snowy Syracuse to spend quality time with family and friends, while league statistician Alan Balthrop embodies the Christmas spirit with his biggest tradition.

“We have a family tradition of welcoming anyone who shows up on our doorstep on Christmas Day, no questions asked. Some years we have a full house, some years it is quiet. We are always blessed by whoever comes by.”

Sonora’s forward Franck Tayou is more focused on celebrating the New Year with some special friends. His New Year’s Eve plans revolve around time spent with of the kids at a local orphanage in Hermosillo, Mexico.

Memories are made and cherished at this time of year. Growing up in San Diego, Chiles remembers this time as a transition period for his soccer life and the normally consistent Southern California weather.

“When I was growing up, we always played a Thanksgiving tournament that marked the last hurrah with your club team before transitioning to the high school season. Then playing games with your high school at this time of year I remember playing under the lights when it was cool and rainy, something that doesn’t happen too often in San Diego.”

The MASL’s newest player, Carolina Jaramillo’s fondest holiday memories also revolve around the beautiful game.

“My favorite memory is during the Clausura Tournament of the Liga Femenil Mayor, where my team Xolas de Tijuana was crowned champions.”

For others, memories of Christmas past will take on even more meaning this year.

“This is our first Christmas without my dad,” said Public Relations Manager Jeff Husted. “This was one of his favorite times of the year, just being with family and watching everyone’s faces as they opened presents. We plan on really having a great time this year and enjoying all the little things a little more in his honor.”

MASL Vice President of Business Development Kevin Milliken has other things on his mind this season.

“I want to give a shout out to my son who is pulling a 24 hour shift on Christmas Day keeping us safe defending our nation.”

Regardless of where we are or who we are spending our time with through the holidays, everyone with the MASL is excited to share our love of arena soccer with you, our fans. We wish you all a Happy Holidays and, of course, a Happy New Year!