STARS OPEN SEASON SUNDAY IN SAN DIEGO
TACOMA, WA. – Week One of the 2023-24 MASL season is in the books but the Tacoma Stars (0-0-0) and San Diego Sockers (0-0-0) will kick off their campaigns on Sunday when they meet at Pechanga Aren San Diego at 5:05 pm PST. This will be the first of six matchups between Tacoma and San Diego this season with the next coming on Saturday, December 9 at the accesso ShoWare Center for the Stars’ Opening Night.
Tacoma, coming off a 12-10-2 season that saw them make the playoffs and come up short in the first round against the Mesquite Outlaws, returns 10 of the 11 players who finished with 10 or more points during the regular season. Eventual MASL MVP, Scoring Champion, and Pass Master Nick Perera led the team in goals (33), assists (37), and points (70). Jamael Cox (25 points), Micheal Ramos (23), and Alex Caceres (21) rounded out the top offensive producers for the season.
The Stars bolstered their defense with three free-agent signings during the off-season. The first is a name extremely familiar to Northwest soccer fans as defender Román Torres makes his return to the region. Torres, a Panamanian National Team legend who netted the penalty kick that won the Seattle Sounders FC the MLS Cup in 2016, appeared in seven games last season for the Dallas Sidekicks with two goals and two assists.
From the Harrisburg Heat comes Matt Braem, a fifth-year defender who has increased his clock total in each of the previous three seasons with 28 stops to his credit last season. 2022-23 also marked his second consecutive season with double-digit point production.
In goal, Chris Toth joins the Stars and brings stats that place him in the MASL Top 5 all-time in GK games played (146), saves (1874), and wins (85). He played for Tacoma in 2021 but never in front of Stars fans at the accesso ShoWare Center as the team played every game on the road due to COVID restrictions in Washington State. His presence for the Stars is perfectly timed as Danny Waltman will miss extended time due to off-season surgeries.
With the additions and returning players, MASL MVP and newly named Stars General Manager Nick Perera verbalized what many fans who have seen the team play during the pre-season have seen first-hand.
“A new season begins, and our locker room is more together than ever. This group has been putting in a lot of hard work and we are all united in our purpose. This is a special team, with a special locker room ready to make some noise, and Sunday is the first step towards our collective goal,” Perera said.
That first step will be a big test for the Stars as they face the San Diego Sockers, a team that made some off-season moves of their own. After reaching the Western Conference Finals last season on the strength of what is arguably the best defense in the MASL, they added free agent Drew Ruggles who is coming off a 40-block, 24 point season for the Florida Tropics. Ruggles, who will be in his 10th season in the MASL averages almost a point per game while amassing 136 blocks in his career.
The other big acquisition for San Diego comes from the Empire Strykers in the 2023 MASL Newcomer of the Year Gabriel Costa. In 19 games, Costa averaged 2.1 points per game with 18 goals and 22 assists for his squad which was eliminated from playoff contention in the last week of the regular season for the second consecutive year.
Sunday’s game will be available for Stars fans on MASLtv’s Twitch Channel at www.twitch.tv/masl_soccer.
The teams will shift north to the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent for Tacoma’s Opening Night on December 9 kicking off at 7:05 pm and is the team’s annual Night of Giving which includes a toy drive and Teddy Bear Toss to benefit Toys-for-Tots. Discount tickets are available through Monday, December 4 at www.tacomastars.showare.com using the special code CYBERSTARS at check out. Fans can get 25% off Reserved seats and 50% off Club seats during the Cyber Week special.
Opening Night is just eight days away! Get your tickets now to be there to cheer on the Stars vs San Diego on December 9 at 7:05 pm. Tickets are available here – https://tacomastars.showare.com.
Lock in your seat to every exciting minute of Tacoma Stars soccer at the accesso ShoWare Center with 2023-24 Season Tickets today! For more information call 1-844-STARS-84 and experience the excitement and speed of Tacoma Stars action.
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