December 12, 2020
By Fred Liggett
The year 2020 has certainly provided a number of firsts and unusual events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. An example of that was on display on Saturday, Dec. 5 inside the Cable Dahmer Arena where the Major Arena Soccer League All-star game was played. Instead of a normal season opening game between two teams the league played host to an East vs West All-star game witnessed by about 1,600 fans.
A total of six Kansas City Comets players were selected to play for the Eastern Conference that was coached by Leo Gibson who also serves as head coach of the Comets. The game was close throughout the first half as the halftime score was even at 2. The second half was a different story as the Western Conference outscored the East All-stars 7-2 to win the game 9-4.
Coach Gibson found the event to be “really cool” and afterwards said he “Appreciated the fans coming out.” Selected as the All-star Game MVP was former KC Comets goalkeeper Danny Waltman who now plays for the Tacoma Stars. Waltman found his return to KC “An awesome experience, a pleasure to play.” Waltman Said of the close game “was intense, competitive and real cool.”
The All-star game served as a season opener for many of the MASL teams who are hoping to still play a 2020-21 season. As of this time the league has not released a schedule due to so many teams impacted by restrictions due to the pandemic. In place of a regular season for now the Kansas City Comets have joined alongside several other teams located in the Midwest to compete for the Central Cup. The first game for the Comets is on Saturday, Dec. 12 which finds them playing at Dallas. Later the Comets will host rival St. Louis Ambush on Saturday, Dec. 19 and then finish up with a road game at Wichita on Sunday, Dec. 20.
Coach Gibson says he is looking forward to “having an actual schedule.” Till then the coach and the Comets players are involved in daily practices to stay sharp and compete for the Central Cup. Gibson says so far of his team’s practices “been going extremely well.” The team has had “limited amount of issues with COVID and injuries.” When the regular season does start the Comets according to Gibson has a team that is “hungry, exciting to watch with a lot of young guys.” For Gibson this season serves as his second year serving as both the team’s coach and as a player. Gibson says he is “feeling much better than last year” and found the dual roles was “a process performing both roles.”
For fans of arena soccer the All-star game whet the appetite for the upcoming season. For now the Comets are focusing on the three-game Central Cup Challenge. Both players and fans will soon hear more about a season schedule and provide Comets fans a way to see the whole team in action.