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At long last... the Blast is back

Pro indoor soccer team opens season on Saturday
David Bascome William Vanzela
Posted at 4:29 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 17:33:57-05

BALTIMORE, Md. — They were sidelined for a full season. Now the Baltimore Blast is sidelined no longer.

"This is a big year. This is a very big year," said new head coach David Bascome.

"It’s been a long time coming, a long offseason," said midfielder Tony Donatelli.

The professional indoor soccer team is just days away from its first game since pre-pandemic - March of 2020. They sat out last season's abbreviated Major Arena Soccer League campaign. It’s full-go starting Saturday.

"We’ve been itching to get back on the field and to see everybody again and be as excited as we are and showing it on the field and have a game this weekend," said Donatelli. "We couldn’t be looking more forward to it."

Longtime assistant Bascome takes over as head coach. The Blast hall-of-famer replaces Danny Kelly, another hall-of-famer. The coaching change actually happened in May of last year. Now it’s finally time for Bascome to take charge.

"It’s a great feeling," he said. "The last 19 months have been trying, the uncertainty. But, here we are. The battle has started mentally and physically. This is what you prepare for."

As for the team Bascome will be coaching, the Blast lineup will look different than the last time they took the field.

Gone are longtime fan favorites forwards Vini Dantas and Andrew Hoxie. Both were traded.

Brought in to help replace them was forward Max Ferdinand. He previously played for the Blast from 2009-2015.

"It feels great. It feels like home," he said. "It’s where I started and now I’m back. Most of the guys are like brothers to me on the team and every time you put on that uniform it’s about winning."

"We lost Vini. We lost Hoxie. They were the two big guys. I think it’s going to be very different. But, on the same note, we’re going to be a lot quicker with guys that can function and move faster," said goalkeeper William Vanzela.

They start to put it all together for real on Saturday. Game one against Florida is set to start at 6:05 p.m. at Towson University’s SECU Arena.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook