By Ken Jackson
In a couple short months, the Silver Spurs Arena will be back in the professional sports business, as the Orlando Sea Wolves indoor soccer team is taking shape behind the scenes.
Through free agent signings, connections with the Orlando City Soccer Club and local tryout camps and player combines, the Sea Wolves, who will play in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MASL) beginning in December, have come to terms with 17 players.
They have a mix of experience playing the six-a-side indoor game in various leagues, and internationally and in the U.S. playing the outdoor game in Major League Soccer.
SeaWolves General Manager Chris Kokalis said he’s “almost up to 20” unofficially, and will continue adding players through the fall.
“We’ll be taking 25 to training camp (in November),” he said. “We’ll have 15 on the active roster for the regular season.”
Last week, former Orlando City defender Tyler Turner became the third player with ties to that franchise to sign, following Lewis Neal and Johnny Mendoza.
Many of the other signees have ties to the Cedar Rapids Rampage of the MASL, with which Kokalis and Orlando’s ownership group was affiliate with, but has since ceased operations since the SeaWolves franchise was announced.
Midfielder Gordy Gurson, who was sixth in the MASL in scoring in 2017-18 with 30 goals, was announced months ago, and has since been joined by goalkeeper Rainer Hauss, defender Joshio “Yoshi” Sandoval, midfielder Victor France and forwards Edwin Rojas and Osvaldo Rojas Rivera.
Hauss took over the starting goalkeeper job for the Rampage last year and was named to the MASL’s All-Rookie Team. He also represented Brazil in the World Minifootball Federation World Cup in Tunisia last October, and in the Pan American Cup in June in Guatemala.
Luiz Mota is another Brazilian, and the midfielder played for the Rio Grande Valley Barracudas last year in his first full MASL season. Prior to that, he saw action with St. Louis and the Syracuse Silver Knights.
Defender/midfielder Dyan Hundelt, a second-generation pro indoor soccer player, will be in his fourth MASL season this year. Coming from the St. Louis Ambush, where he had six goals and four assists in 17 games and is “a high-intensity defender who blocks shots and makes things happen when he’s on the field,” Kokalis said.
Polish-born Piotr Sliwa, another goalkeeper, is a veteran of the indoor and outdoor games and has signed on to be the SeaWolves’ goalkeeping coach, so Kokalis said he may pitch in on the field and on the bench.
“Piotr has a great soccer mind and has been a great resource to bounce ideas off of the last few years,” Kokalis said. “Having him on the roster and on staff is going to be a tremendous asset to the organization.”
All that’s left is to lock in a head coach, and that will happen sooner than later, Kokalis said.
“We’re down to our final three candidates and should have an announcement very soon,” he said.
Keith Tozer, the head of the U.S. National Futsal Team (a game played indoors or outdoors on a hard surface) has been working with the team to evaluate talent during its tryout combines over the summer.