Waltman, Ramos, Sawatzky Up For MASL Major Awards

by Brett Gleason

TACOMA, Wash. -- Three members of the Tacoma Stars have been selected as finalists for 2015-16 Major Arena Soccer League major awards, the league announced today.

In the running for end-of-season awards are goalkeeper Danny Waltman (MASL Most Valuable Player, MASL Goalkeeper of the Year), midfielder Mike Ramos (MASL Rookie of the Year), and Head Coach and General Manager Darren Sawatzky (MASL Coach of the Year).

Waltman, 34, worked in the net for every game of the Stars inaugural season in the MASL, and finished among the top ten keepers in the league in every statistical category. The Tacoma native racked up a league-leading 1,208 minutes in goal, accumulated 275 saves and 13 wins, and allowed an average of just 5.41 goals per game.

“Danny Waltman is as good as any goalkeeper in the modern indoor game,” Sawatzky said. “He kept us in games this year, and I learned from his experience and knowledge of the league.  He is, without question, the Tacoma Stars Most Valuable Player for this past season and we look forward to him leading our group into the future.”

Ramos, 24, finished fifth on the club in scoring with after notching 10 goals and five assists. With the playoffs on the line, Ramos scored game-winning goals in the final minute in both of the Stars final two regular season matches.

In addition to being in the running for Rookie of the Year, Ramos was named to the MASL All-Rookie Team along with Sonora forward Alejandro Leyva, Chicago forward Adolfo Bautista, Detroit defender Thiago Goncalves, Sonora defender Roberto Escalante, and Syracuse goalkeeper Andrew Coughlin.

“I am very happy for Mike on his selection to the All-Rookie team,” Sawatzky said. “He worked extremely hard to learn the game this year and eventually had an immense impact at the end of our season.”

The Stars powered their way into the 2016 MASL Playoffs under the direction of Sawatzky, breaking a 25-year professional soccer playoff drought for Tacoma. Over the course of the season the Stars put together a pair of four-game winning streaks, and came away victorious in six of their final eight matches of the regular season.

“I appreciate that our owner, Lane Smith, gave me the opportunity to work with the players this year,” Sawatzky said. “Having a coach nominated for any award is a testament to the hard work of the players and staff.   Mike Jennings and Lance Larson were first class on the road this year and our game day production group at the ShoWare Center was incredible.”

MASL All-Team selections will be announced by the league on Tuesday, Mar. 15, with the winners of the major awards following on Thursday, Mar. 17.

Season tickets for the Stars 2016-17 season are available now. To make a deposit, call 1-844-STARS-TIME or visit the Stars online at www.tacomastars.com. The most up-to-date news and notes about the Stars can be found by following the Stars on Twitter (@TacomaStarsSC) or liking the team on Facebook.