by Pete Richmire

DALLAS, TX – The 2022 MASL Combine and Draft are in the books and the Tacoma Stars made the first two picks during the league's inaugural draft. Over 100 athletes were on hand for the combine which was hosted by the Mesquite Outlaws Thursday through Sunday of this week before culminating in the draft at the Statler Hotel in Dallas Sunday afternoon.

Earlier in the week, during the MASL Owners’ Meeting, the Stars won the first pick of the draft via a drawing between the teams which missed last year’s Ron Newman Cup Playoffs and the two teams returning to action this season.

Running the draft for the Stars was Adam Becker, who was impressed with the action at the combine. He said, “Over 100 athletes tried out, playing two games a day and spending time with different coaches throughout the weekend. The level was very high and extremely competitive.”

The first player to be drafted in MASL history was Alexander Gomez of Pingree Grove, IL. The midfielder has nine assists so far this season for Triton College in River Grove, IL.

Tacoma also had the second overall pick following a trade with Mesquite and Abilene, TX native Ray Moulougui was the Stars’ selection. The trade gave Tacoma’s third-round pick to the Outlaws and left the Stars with one more pick in the draft.

With that pick, Becker selected midfielder/defender Matthew Melendez of Raleigh, NC. The Mars Hill University player was taken with the 15th over pick in the draft.

All three players caught Becker’s eye in different ways. “They each stood out differently in my eyes from day one. I can’t express how excited I and the rest of the Stars organization are to bring in these three young men,” he said.

The Stars will kick off their 2022-23 schedule on the road on December 1 against the Empire Strykers before facing the Monterrey Flash at home on December 10 at the accesso ShoWare Center. Game time for the home opener is 7:05 pm. Bring a new stuffed animal with you to the game and let them fly onto the field after the Stars score their first goal as it’s the annual Teddy Bear Toss game to benefit Toys for Tots!