There is, indeed, a pro team in Las Vegas
With one division championship title under their belt and hopefully one on the way, the Las Vegas Legends cannot be so legendary without the support of local fans.
With an 11-7 victory against rivals and defending champions the San Diego Sockers in the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL), the Legends advanced to the semifinals against Hidalgo La Fiera FC in Chicago on March 15.
But Las Vegas fell a game short of making the Ron Newman Cup, losing 5-4.
Arena soccer is played at a much faster pace than outdoor soccer because the field is much smaller, 180 feet by 80 feet, whereas a regulation outdoor field is 360 feet by 240 feet.
The PASL was established in 2008 and consists of 20 total teams. The Legends were founded by owner and coach Meir Cohen in 2012.
The Las Vegas franchise is a diverse team with players ranging from 19 to 34 years old. With such an age gap it would seem like there might be some tension, but players agree that having this variety makes for a great team and even better games.
“This is the best team I’ve ever been on for indoor soccer,” said midfielder Enrique Tovar. “Yeah we get into little arguments during practice but when it comes to the game we have each other’s back. We’re a team, not just one player.”
With the huge soccer community Las Vegas has, one might think that fans would be scavenging for tickets to their local professional team’s game, but that’s not the case.
The Legends originally played at the Orleans Arena, which seats 9,500. Now they play at the Las Vegas Sports Park located on Rampart Boulevard and Vegas Drive. Cohen is aware of the fact that the Legends do not have the fan base or sponsors they would like, but is hoping that within the next year things will change.
“Success takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. Eventually this team will be a priority for the thousands of people that love the game,” Cohen said.
Cohen also emphasized the fact that players need to be just as successful off the field to be able to better the team as a whole.
UNLV alumni and Legends goalie Ezequiel Sanchez knows all about success off the field. He says he owes everything to soccer but knows that staying humble is a big part to success.
“The kid’s reactions are very nice, how they look up to you and get all happy,” Sanchez said. “Since I’m there I say, ‘Hey, do you want to take a picture or get an autograph?’ I like to give myself to the kids.”