Road Trippin'

by Michael Lewis

Editor's Note: In 1992, writer Michael Lewis took a bus trip with the original Harrisburg Heat that saw the team not only play three National Professional Soccer League games in as many days, but the team won all three games. A year later, he traveled to Harrisburg, Pa. to write about the Heat playing - and winning - twice that weekend at the Farm Show Arena. He got to know the players and wrote about both experiences in a weekly New York publication called Soccer Week.

Almost three decades later, Lewis decided to look back on the Heat players and how some of them have pursued soccer careers. There is a modern-day version of the Heat competition in the Major Arena Soccer League.

When he took over as coach of the Harrisburg Heat in August 1991, creating a legacy was not high on Jim Pollihan's priorities at the time. 

His main concern was to put together a winning side. He did. While the Heat never won a National Professional Soccer League title, it qualified for the playoffs during his tenure. 

Looking back at the Heat during Pollihan's tenure, several players continued in the beautiful indoor game, moving onto coaching positions, the front office, officiating and running soccer organizations. 

That so many players moved onto other positions in soccer after they retired did not surprise Pollihan, who wound up having several future leaders on the club. 

"I was very fortunate when I first came up here to Harrisburg," said Pollihan a former U.S. international who played five years in the North American Soccer League and five seasons in the original Major Indoor Soccer League. "Some of the players who played with the Hershey Impact -- I think we kept about six of them or so -- and some the players that I knew when I was down in Baltimore [with the Blast] while coaching in the MISL at the time, I was fortunate to get a lot of those players and then realized afterwards how dedicated they were to the game," he said. "Not just in the years they were playing. When they were playing in my first two years in Harrisburg, they sorted out a lot of the problems themselves, on the field problems, playing time problems, things that they really delved into it. 

"It was obviously a major help as a first-time coach and a new franchise. It really paid off early for us and helped us to get the core of the team to stay together and helped us with the competitive edge that we had. We were a very good team from the beginning. It's a complement to those guys and their dedication. a whole bunch of them have continued and have made their living through soccer, coaching colleges, coaching professional teams, running youth organizations. Their commitment has been phenomenal." 

Several of his players are still involved in the MASL. 

So, let's take a look at some of those players who have gone on and made an impact of their own in the game, indoor, arena and out: 

Bob Lilley
After playing a year with the Hershey Impact, which folded after the 1990-91 season, Lilley joined the Heat for the 1992-93 campaign and enjoyed a productive five-year tenure as a defender, scoring 73 goals in 173 matches. A team captain at George Mason University, Lilley also performed for the Orlando Lions and Maryland Bays in the American Professional Soccer League prior to the Heat.

"Bob was a student of the game from a young age," Pollihan said. "He brought that into the locker room with him, onto the practice field, onto the game field. He wanted to learn the game and he wanted to pass his knowledge off to others. At times he was very committed to the team to do well. At first, he did a lot of it through by example. He was a very hard worker on the field, always fit, willing to go the extra yard to get the job done. Then he got the guys together to talk about what we needed to do, what they could better. what can we do on this restart, what can we can stop the other team's power play. He was always thinking .... about not only to improve his own game but the team's game."

Not surprisingly, Lilley, 53, became a coach, directing the Hershey Wildcats, Montreal Impact, Vancouver Whitecaps, Rochester Rhinos and most recently with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

"Wherever he has coached, they have won games," Pollihan said. "He's been a winner. Bob probably works more hours on soccer probably than anyone else. He's always talking to someone about the game, to his assistants, to his players, whoever will listen. He wants to gain as much knowledge as he can. Then he wants to pass on that knowledge to whoever wants to sit and absorb it from him. bob's been that way since day one. ... His coaching career makes the best of what he has had to deal with. He has done great with young players and continues to do that.

"Every team has been with -- Montreal, Vancouver, Rochester, Hershey Wildcats, Pittsburgh -- they're winners. It's just the way Bob is. He doesn't take mediocrity. He will get rid of mediocrity or you get rid of it yourself and become the way he wants you to be and the way he wants to you to play."

Danny Kelly
A graduate of Penn State University, Kelly was drafted by two teams -- the Kansas City Comets (Major Indoor Soccer League) and the Heat (NPSL). He chose the latter, opening the door to a long, productive career on and off the field. As a midfielder with Harrisburg, he celebrated 224 goals in 179 appearances and also played for the San Diego Sockers indoor squad. Kelly competed for the Rochester Rhinos and Hershey Wildcats outdoors before returning to indoor for good for seven seasons with the Baltimore Blast. 

"Danny was a complete player," Pollihan said. "Excellent with both feet. Worked both ends of the floor. When someone would either get the ball away from Danny or he would lose the ball, he would work his tail off to get it back. Both ends of the field, up and down, non-stop action and could strike the ball equally skilled with both feet. He could score goals from anywhere on the field. He hated to lose. I think they all hated to lose, but you can see it in his face. When the team wasn't doing well, he would get very upset and committed to see what he could do to help the team pull out a victory or turn it around."

That passion and desire has followed the 50-year-old Kelly in a standout career as a coach. Kelly has directed the Blast since 2006, a 14-year career with one club, a rarity. Under his tutelage, the Blast has won six indoor titles, including three MASL championships in a row.

"Fourteen years, that's unheard of in any professional sport that coaches stay around that long," said Pollihan, who enjoyed an eight-year tenure as Heat coach before assuming the GM role. "He gets it done. He finds good players. He develops players, makes them better. Sometimes when you have winning teams from year to year to year it gets tough because every player wants to play. "You've got to be able to balance the attitudes, balance the playing time of players so that you are successful when a top player is either injured or not on their game. You have other players that have learned the way you want them to play and are able to come in and get it done. It seems that's part of Baltimore’s success. They've kept a nucleus of players for a long period of time and have brought players in to complement them. And those players become the next stars of the team."

David Bascome
A native of Bermuda, Bascome joined the Heat in 1991 and stayed through the 1999-2000 season, tallying 183 goals in 200 matches. He also played for the Denver Thunder and Blast (three championships) during a 17-year indoor career and the Harrisburg City Islanders outdoors. He represented Bermuda nine times.

"He left the heat, became a free agent, went to Baltimore to play," Pollihan said. "Baltimore was after him for years and years and years. Every team in the league was after him for years. We were able to hold onto him for a long period of time. "When he came in he was the fastest player in training camp, faster all of our players on the team. Had excellent skills. Just did not know the indoor game. Je tried to do everything at 100 miles an hour. It didn't take him long to learn the game and once he slowed down that pace, he became phenomenal. Did excellent for us in Harrisburg. He's very thin, very frail, so he got bumped around a bit on the boards. but it didn't bother him. He knew when to stay away from the boards when it wasn't necessary."

Bascome, 50, joined the Blast as an assistant coach to Kelly and helped the team to four titles (2008, 2009, 2013 and 2016).

"I think he goes back to Bermuda in the summer and runs a small-sided soccer league down there," Pollihan said. "So, he is very invested in the game, both indoor and outdoor."

Doug Miller
Whether it has been with a roof over his head or in the great outdoors, Miller always has found a way to fill the net. A graduate of Loyola College, Miller drove goalkeepers crazy indoors as a member of the Blast, Heat, Cleveland Crunch (96 goals in 74 contests), Buffalo Blizzard (208 goals in 165 matches) and the Rochester Lancers (79 goals in 74 games). He led the MISL in scoring and was MVP at the age of 43. Outside, Miller, now 50, has performed with the New York Fever, Rochester Rhinos and Hershey Wildcats. In a short stint with the Lancers (National Premier Soccer League) in 2017, he scored a goal at 48. Miller also played an integral role for the Rhinos' Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship team in 1999, scoring in the final (Rochester was the last non-MLS team to win the title).

"Doug was another player with exceptional speed and quickness," Pollihan said. "He's kept that throughout his career. It was at a time when we had one of strongest teams, if not the strongest team we had and playing time was tough. Some players that were excellent players were asked to play in three-man rotations, which cuts down on your time on the field and Doug being a competitor, wanted to be on the field as much as he felt he could to help the team. Did very well for us. Traded him to Cleveland. He scored goals and been on winning teams wherever he's played. The hardest thing to do in soccer is to put the ball in the net and Doug could do it and he's done at every level."

Miller has coached the indoor Lancers in the MASL and M2 since the 2014-15 season. He also has directed the organization's NPSL side since 2017 and will coach the Bryant and Stratton College men's team in Rochester this fall. He also owns Doug Miller Soccer and a facility in suburban Rochester for soccer and winter sports.

"He's definitely into the game," Pollihan said. "He's developing the game there for the youth and the adults who want to play indoor. He's done phenomenal."

Todd Smith
Smith played for the Heat for four seasons, missing only one game out of a possible 160. He totaled 39 goals and 35 assists. He also competed for the Fort Wayne Flames and Atlanta Attack when the NPSL was known as the American Indoor Soccer Association.

"Todd was a players' player," Pollihan said. "Everybody loved Todd. He wasn't the quickest guy on the field, but he knew how to get the job done defensively. He had a great shot, a hard shot. He was a great guy in the locker room. Knew when to joke, when to be serious. Had a good head on his shoulders."

He became the Hershey Wildcats' general manager as he hired Lilley as their coach. "They were best buddies," Pollihan said.

Smith eventually became the New England Revolution general manager before passing away on Dec. 31, 2003 after a year and a half battle with leukemia.

"He married fairly young, I think, had a family, knew that soccer playing-wise wasn't going to be lucrative investment for him so he was always out doing other things, staying in the community," Pollihan said. "I think that's where he got the knowledge to run a team. ... With his success with Hershey, he moved to MLS with New England. Loved the game and was very committed." 

He eventually became the New England Revolution general manager before passing away on Dec. 31, 2003 after a year and a half battle with leukemia. He was 38.

Bill Becher
After attending Lewis and Clark Community College, Becher transferred to Sangamon State University, scoring the game-winning goal in the NAIA men's soccer final and was named tournament MVP. That bode well for his career. During a 13-year indoor career, Becher tallied 305 goals and 262 assists over 464 games for the Fort Wayne Flames, Indiana Kick, Heat, Sandsharks and Ambush. He played eight years with the Heat, scoring 227 times and assisting on 210 others in 315 appearances.

"Bill was a mainstay with the Heat," Pollihan said. "He really liked it and stayed in this area. He had two sons who played on three state championships, both playing for UMBC in Baltimore, playing for Pete Caringi."

Becher, 54, has become a soccer icon in the Harrisburg area, having coached the Harrisburg City Islanders for an astounding 14 years from 2004-17. Now, that is rare. Becher's record with the Islanders? 152-95-129. The team won the USL second division championship in 2007 and was a USL Pro finalist in 2011 and 2014. Becher also was the USL coach of the year in 2005.

"He's done extremely well," Pollihan said. 

Mark Pulisic
He is the father of U.S. national team and Chelsea midfielder Christian Pulisic, yet Mark, 51, forged a pretty impressive career of his own as a high-scoring forward for the Heat from 1991-99, scoring a reported 296 goals. 

"People will say now, 'Oh you're Christian's father’, but people who played with him or against him, knew Mark very well," Pollihan said. "Mark is a very driven individual, worked out extra, was always out running on his own. The first time I saw Mark play he was at George Mason. I was still down in Baltimore, covering games for a network out of D.C. Saw mark play as a sophomore at the time. I said, 'Hey this guy [can play]. He and Lilley were three years a part in school age. When I was putting the team together Bob said, 'Hey, a friend of mine is coming up to visit and he's a good player. I think you should take a look at him.' I said, 'Who is he?' And he said, Mark Pulisic. 'I know who Mark is. I saw him play in college. Yeah, I would love to take a look at him.'

"So, Mark came in for training camp and fit right in and was a mainstay with the team from day one. Like I said, a tremendously driven individual, both on the field and off the field. Knew what his strengths were and played to them. Another guy that the players loved having in him on the team. great in the locker room, Very positive. When he stopped playing indoor, he was bob's assistant in a number of places.

Pulisic coached the Lebanon Valley College men and women's team, was an assistant coach with the Harrisburg City Islanders before calling shots for the Detroit Ignition (indoors). More recently, he was a coach with the Borussia Dortmund Academy and with the Rhinos and Riverhounds (last two in the USL Championship).

"Had a very fine coaching career and he's hoping to get back into it when an opportunity presents itself when it is appealing for him," Pollihan said.

Joe Mallia
On Jan. 24, Mallia lived a goalkeeper's ultimate fantasy. He outscored the opposition. In what has to be considered the rarest of arena or indoor soccer feats, he shutout the Wichita Wings, 13-0, for the Heat at the Farm Show Arena before a crowd of 2,914. Mallia threw the ball into the Wings net with 1:30 remaining in the game.

Mallia, who played two seasons for Harrisburg, also competed for the Dayton Dynamo and Baltimore Spirit over another four campaigns.

"Joe was one of the quickest goalkeepers I've ever worked with," Pollihan said. "He was good with his feet, but his quickness off his line to get to the corners and the upper corners to the lower corners was phenomenal. He held everything that came his way. As a first-year goalkeeper coming into the indoor game in our first season, he had an unbelievable record. Kept us in games. I hated to see him go. he could have stayed in the game as a player for a longtime." 

A standout at Old Dominion University, Mallia, has an impressive college coaching record. He had two tenures at Loyola College (Md.), was an assistant to future U.S. women's national head coach Jill Ellis at UCLA, was the head coach at Loyola Marymount and was an assistant coach at the Naval Academy.

"Joe was a very smart guy and knew what direction he wanted to move into it," Pollihan said. "He's been in soccer for a long time. He's in the coaching ranks and has been successful there."

Lee Tschantret
In an indoor career that spanned two decades (the 1990-91 season through 2008-09), Tschantret tallied 411 goals and 326 assists in 581 matches. During his three years with the Heat, Tschantret registered 69 goals and 50 assists in 91 games. He also competed for the Kansas City Attack, Arizona Sandsharks, St. Louis Ambush, Philadelphia KiXX, Detroit Rockers and Blast. Internationally, Tschantret captained the U.S. national futsal team, played in the 2007 Pan Am Games and was a Concacaf gold medal winner.

"Lee is one of those guys who also hated to lose and showed it fairly demonstrably," Pollihan said. "He would get on players on the bench, his teammates, 'We've got to do better. Let's pull this out.' Worked very hard as a forward. Would get under the skin of the other team, be it their defenders, their forwards or their coaches, anyone on their bench. He liked to ruffle the feathers. Sometimes it paid off very well. People would get penalties against Lee. Sometimes Lee would take penalties that we wish he didn't. But you could never fault him for his desire to help the team win a game."

Now 51, Tschantret is the head coach at Loyola High School, where the team has won several championships and the head coach of the 2005 Pipeline Pre-Academy team that competes in EDP, among other leagues. He is also director of Loyola Soccer Camps. He was voted the Maryland National Soccer Coaches Association of America coach of the year in 2012.

Denis Hamlett
Another George Mason product, Hamlett joined the Heat while playing for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (APSL). He played two seasons with Harrisburg before joining the Anaheim Splash (Continental Indoor Soccer League) for another two years before the Colorado Rapids beckoned in MLS' inaugural season in 1996. He scored 24 goals and contributed 23 assists during his Heat tenure.

"Just a force on defense," Pollihan said. "Big, strong, fast. People couldn't get around hi., They couldn't beat him. When he started with the ball coming out of the back dribbling the ball, it seemed that people wanted to get out of his way because of how strong he was on the ball. I wish he had stayed longer. He was one of the best defenders you're going to see in the indoor game. At the time when we were getting very strong, MLS was trying to pick up players they knew could come in and play outdoor. He was always on a coaches list, giving me a call: "Hey, how can we get Denis Hamlett?"

Now, 51, Hamlett played only one year with Colorado before becoming an assistant coach with the Chicago Fire from 1998-2007 and head man from 2008-09. After assistant stints with the Illinois Institute of Technology, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Montreal Impact, he was an assistant with the New York Red Bulls for two years before assuming the sporting director's role in 2017.

"I think an injury caused him to stop playing," Pollihan said. "I think that's what caused him to get into coaching and into the management side of things. Obviously, he has been very successful in MLS."

Richard Chinapoo
A four-time All-American at Long Island University Brooklyn, Chinapoo was drafted by the New York Cosmos in 1982 and played two North American Soccer League seasons with them. He embarked on 17-year indoor soccer career that included stints with the Blast, Sidekicks and Heat. Now 63, Chinapoo recorded 101 goals with Harrisburg in 243 contests over eight seasons. His indoor totals were 277 goals, 268 assists in 629 games. He also played several times for the Trinidad & Tobago national team. 

"We were teammates my last season in Baltimore when I was an assistant coach he was with the team," Pollihan said. "In my second season in Harrisburg, when I was looking for some experience. Richard was the first one I thought of and became my player-assistant coach. He did phenomenal in both areas. When I stopped coaching after the 97-98 season, I moved into the office and hired him as coach."

Chinapoo coached the Heat during two tenures, from 1998-2002 and from 2012-14. Pollihan said that he sees Chinapoo, who runs a youth organization in the Harrisburg area, at least once a week.

"He was on many an all-star," he added. "He's done very well."

Franklin McIntosh
A lethal goal-scorer, McIntosh recorded more than 1,000 points in an indoor career that spanned more than a decade. He registered 457 goals and 556 assists for 1,013 points. Some of the English-born McIntosh's best years came with the Heat -- (43-49-92 in 1991-92, 56-51-101 in 1992-93 and 47-55-102 in 1993-94). He did enjoy a 48-goal, 77-assist season with the Spirit in 1996-97. He also performed with the Hersey Impact, Sandsharks, Cincinnati Silverbacks, KiXX, Ambush, Portland Pride and Blast. 

"Franklin was a phenomenal player, very skillful," Pollihan said. "He could be a magician with the ball at times. For our first couple of seasons, he was our go-to guy for goals and assists. Just could get it done, a player's player, the players like playing with him. He wasn't the hardest player when we didn't have the ball, but when we did have the ball and he had the ball, something good would normally happen. So, the players didn't mind sometimes doing a little extra work defensively to allow him to do things on the offensive end.

"For a number of different reasons we traded him to Baltimore and picked up two players, Tarik Walker and Steve Boardman. The players didn't accept it very well at first because of his success with us over the years, but over time the players realized we came together as a team, and the year the trade was done, that was when we played St. Louis in the finals."

McIntosh, 56, worked at the Elite Soccer Academy in Lawrenceville, Ga. and is currently the academy director of Arkansas Comets FC and coaches at least two girls teams in the club.

David Vaudreuil
No doubt that Vaudreuil has enjoyed a varied soccer career, playing for 15 pro teams in six leagues over 13 seasons. The Princeton University graduate's indoor resume includes the Blast (three times), Heat, Wave and Spirit. Outdoors, he has been with the Washington Stars, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Houston Force, New York Centaurs, Hampton Roads Mariners, D.C. United, as a member of the 1966 and 1997 MLS Cup champion teams, Miami Fusion, Colorado Rapids, Connecticut Wolves, Milwaukee Rampage and Chicago Fire before retiring in 2002. With the Heat, Vaudreuil scored 20 goals during the 1991-92 season.

"David was a unique individual," Pollihan said. "I think he studied psychology, so he was always messing with people's minds. Got along very well with the guys. A very hard worker. Normally when players get out of the indoor game and have not been in the outdoor game for a number of years, it's tough for them to get into a strong outdoor league. He went right into from the Heat to D.C. United. ... A very intelligent guy."

Now 53, Vaudreuil has been an assistant coach with DePaul University and Chicago Storm and was head man with Jersey Shore Boca, Atlanta Silverbacks, Hollywood United and most recently with the Tulsa Roughnecks (2017-19).

Angelo Panzetta
A graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, Panzetta was an All-American defender with the Tigers, who lost in the NCAA Division III final to UC-San Diego. He earned a degree in applied mathematics and was inducted into the RIT Athletic Hall of Fame. He played four seasons, two seasons with the Blast and the Heat, finishing with 28 goals in 115 matches with the latter. He is a member of the Heat Hall of Fame. 

"Was a phenomenal player collegiately as a defender because he was very quick and fast," Pollihan said. When teams would get past all the other defenders, Angelo could always track them down and beat them to the ball. When I was down in Baltimore as an assistant, we drafted him out of RIT [in the first round]. Hurt his knee, ACL surgery."

Panzetta finished second in the MISL rookie of the year balloting. When Pollihan took over the Heat reins, he brought in the defender.

Panzetta, 52, has coached the Allegheny College men's team for the past 19 years, compiling a 155-141-36 record.

John Abe
John Abe scored 142 goals and recorded 95 assists in his 178-game career with the Chicago Power, Hershey Impact (80 goals in 83 contests), Harrisburg Heat (64 goals in 72 matches) and Baltimore Spirit. He began playing during the 1989 season and last took the pitch during the 1993-94 campaign. Abe scored 14 goals in 74 games for the Maryland Bays (APSL). He is a member of the Maryland Soccer Association Hall of Fame. 

Abe has remained in the Harrisburg area. 

"He does a lot of soccer officiating, coaches a lot of youth teams in the area," Pollihan said. "Still plays in old-timer tournaments. He's still in the game, but not as involved." 

That's because he has a fulltime job. 

Others players
Goalkeeper -- Larry Tukis. Defender -- Kyle Boschen. Midfielders -- Ben Pollock, Scott Cannon.

And about those two weekends

While covering the Heat in 1992 and 1993, Lewis went 5-0. That included a three-game sweep on the road as Harrisburg won three matches in as many days -- a 17-10 victory over the Canton Invaders on Jan. 10, a 1208 win at the Detroit Rockers on Jan. 11 and a 12-11 triumph at the Dayton Dynamo on Jan. 12.

"I don't know if anyone has done that," Pollihan said. "That was ta hallmark of the NPSL when Steve Paxos was the commissioner. It seemed that every year, you had to have one of those trips. Every team ended up doing it. Everyone wanted to play on weekends, have their home games on weekends because we draw so much better on weekends than you do during the week." 

In those days, the NPSL played 40-game seasons. 

"The commissioner said, 'Hey, we're going to do that. We're going to allow teams to have Friday night games, Saturday night games, Sunday afternoon or evening games,' " Pollihan added. "Very seldom did it happen when you had all three on the road like we did. But when we won all three. Either Monday morning or Tuesday morning when we were back in Harrisburg, commissioner made a call to the Heat office to let us know he was ecstatic and he could tell all these other general managers, coaches and owners, 'Hey, it's not that hard to do. A first-year team did it with new players, three games on the road. No complaining when you get three games in three days anymore.' What we accomplished might not have happened again. I don't know. It was fun. It was fun on the way home, that's for sure. 

In 1993, Lewis spent a weekend chronicling what the Heat did on and off the field in Harrisburg and the team finished 2-0, defeating the Baltimore Spirit, 19-9, on Jan. 22 and then the Wings on Jan. 24. That included Mallia's incredible feat of scoring a goal and recording a shutout in the same game. Goalkeepers have accomplished both, but rarely, if never, in the same contest. 

"Those were some good times. We had some very exciting games and we pulled out some big, big victories," Pollihan said. 

During my research for this story, I ran into this story about the Heat's history, which will put things into further historical context: