The Tulsa Revolution will begin its inaugural season in January.
Hoping for continued growth around the country, Commissioner Paul Lapointe of the American Indoor Soccer League welcomed the Tulsa Revolution for the 2007-08 season at a press conference.
Owned by local soccer enthusiast Adam Mellor and coached by Kerry Shubert, the Revolution will play an eight-game exhibition season starting in January. Four Saturday night home games will be played at Soccer City, 5817 S. 118th East Ave.
"We're filling the void for Division I players who come out of college," said Lapointe, who helped start the AISL five years ago. "The players can hold jobs and still compete at the highest levels. I think Tulsa is a fairly untapped market when it comes to our sport and the AISL will be ready to come alive here in January."
The AISL enters 2007-08 with Massachusetts, Rockford and Cincinnati while adding Northern Illinois and Tulsa. Lapointe said the league wants to add Oklahoma City, Grand Rapids and Chicago, with an ultimate goal of 16 teams.
"The Revolution is the latest link in the chain to what the Roughnecks started in 1978," said Mellor, the youngest owner in the league at 23. "The Tulsa Revs will give homegrown players something to work toward here."
"Some of our goals are to establish a development team for players coming out of high school. We're looking at a development league to coincide with their club teams so they can get professional training."
Mellor said Shubert has plenty of experience coaching. Shubert began playing for the Broken Arrow Soccer Club, suited up for Oklahoma Christian and then the Oklahoma City Warriors from 1990 through 1992. He has coached at the youth level, at Edmond Santa Fe High School and as an assistant for the University of Tulsa women's team.
"We have two Division I schools here in Tulsa and ORU. Probably the greatest players at 22 and 23 years old go on to coach club soccer and would still love to play," said Shubert. "Now they have the opportunity."
"Soccer America rated Tulsa as one of the top 20 hotbeds for soccer in the country and there are over 3,500 kids playing in the Green Country program. Now the kids will have the chance to watch professional athletes play."
Soccer City can seat 990 for games and Lapointe said league players can earn from $100 to $800 per game, depending on the franchise. He said there is no salary cap and the AISL will attract off-season Major League Soccer players and former Major Indoor Soccer League stars.
"The demographic for our league is from 5 and 7-year-olds to adults," Lapointe said. "This league is built on the grassroots level and that's where we will stay. We're a blue-collar league with white-collar dreams, but . . . we'll stick to the small arenas."
Glenn Hibdon 581-8396