Turlock’s only professional sports team will soon be playing in a new, so-called “super-league.”
The Turlock Express are one of 24 teams to join the Major Arena Soccer League, a new top-tier indoor soccer league.
“I am pleased as an owner and Chairman of the newly formed league that we have the framework for a 'super' league,” said Ed Hale, Chairman of the League and owner of the Baltimore Blast. “It has been tough to get this far."
The MASL was officially formed on Monday, through a merger of the Major Indoor Soccer League and the Professional Arena Soccer League. The Express were previously a member of the PASL.
Several teams were dropped from the 21-team PASL as part of the merger, including former Turlock rivals the Sacramento Surge and Bay Area Rosal. One team was dropped from the 7-team MISL through the merger, as well.
But the newly combined league still features teams from across the U.S., New York to Texas and Washington, as well as three Mexican squads. More teams may yet join the league as well; a June 1 deadline is in place to apply to play in the 2014/2015 season.
It has already been determined that the league will be split into four divisions, each of which will send three representatives to the playoffs. Turlock’s division would likely feature the Las Vegas Legends, the Mexico Toros, the Ontario Fury, the San Diego Sockers, and the Tacoma Stars; all teams save the Stars previously played in the Express’ PASL Pacific division.
Each team will play 20 regular season games, half at home and half on the road.
The still in-development league is expected to release more information in mid-June, including a logo, a final list of divisions, and a formal rule set. That rule set could be trickier to draft than expected, as the MISL featured multi-point scoring, similar to the three-point line in basketball. It remains unknown whether the new league will use single-point or multi-point scoring.
Game schedules will be released in September, and the season will begin with an Oct. 25 match between the Dallas Sidekicks and the Missouri Comets.
“I am proud of how fast we were able to put this deal together,” said Commissioner Kevin Milliken, “how much true passion everyone has for our sport, and how everyone has come together to make this great day in our sport happen.”