Fri, Nov 09 2012 12:18 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
During their initial incarnation, the San Diego Sockers were quite proficient at winning indoor soccer championships — 10 of them, to be exact — in their original home at the San Diego Sports Arena.
The Sockers, version 3.0, proved that one can indeed return home, and be accepted, after making their Professional Arena Soccer League 2012-13 season debut last Saturday at the Sports Arena (Valley View Casino Center).
Longtime Chula Vista resident Norbert Stein, the team’s oldest and most fervent fan, had a poem ready to greet the team.
Stein, 99, delivered it straight from the heart.
“They only had four minutes before the start of the game in the locker room and the coach let me talk first,” said Stein, who is known affectionately in local soccer circles simply as The Captain.
“It’s the start of the season, that is the reason I am talking to you,” Stein read aloud. “Remember always to follow through ... To our Sockers congratulations and cheer, all you have to do is repeat last year.”
Said Stein: “I got applause like never before. I bowed and the players went crazy.”
Stein’s message must have been particularly inspirational as the Sockers promptly went out and recorded a 15-2 win against the expansion Sacramento Surge.
“I woke things up,” Stein said. “They were jumping.”
The Sockers entered the game against the Surge riding a 37-game unbeaten streak — the second longest in pro team sports history. The Sockers finished 24-0 last season, winning their third consecutive PASL-Pro title, third straight U.S. Open Cup championship and the FIFRA club championship.
The 3,545 fans in attendance obviously liked what they saw, as they gave the team a standing ovation at halftime.
I was among them.
© 2009 The Star-News