A new local indoor soccer team is giving aspiring young soccer players their chance to go pro.
The Professional Arena Soccer League awarded the city of Livermore with an expansion team, Bay Area Rosal.
The team has been playing its home games for the 2013-2014 season at Cabernet Sports in Livermore.
Rosal was founded by Chris Rockenbaugh in 1998. While he’s owned the team for over a decade, the road to getting the team into the pro ranks was not an easy one.
The team first played in Concord until 2001 when Rockenbaugh moved the team to Hotshots Indoor Sports in Livermore. They did not stay in Livermore the first time around for very long as they ended up moving to Bladium Sports Club in Alameda later that year.
“We started as an amateur team,” Rockenbaugh said. “Then it was semi-pro and now we’re a professional squad, the highest level of arena soccer.”
After winning multiple championships in the lower divisions, Rosal was rewarded with a move to the professional league.
Luis Orellana is the Director of Operations for Bay Area Rosal. Orellana’s resume is nothing short of impressive. From being a member of the Sacramento Knights pro indoor team to playing for the national team of Nicaragua for the 1998 World Cup qualifiers, Orellana brings a great deal of experience to the young players.
“This is a great opportunity for young players to take their game to the next level,” Orellana said. “We do have players from different countries, but we’d like to find talent here in Northern California.”
One of those players taking advantage of the opportunity is LPC student Gerardo Garcia. Having played his final year as a member of the LPC Hawks soccer team, Garcia will now have an opportunity with Rosal as a midfielder in their developmental program.
“It’s cool to be a part of a pro team,” Garcia said. “Even though I’m not a part of the active roster right now, I’m gonna work hard in practice and earn a spot.”
Garcia thinks more players from around the area will join the team as the years go on.
“There’s a lot of talent around the area,” Garcia said. “Knowing that there’s a pro team around here now, I think it’ll be motivation.”
Aside from providing local players with a chance to go pro, Rockenbaugh also hopes to give Livermore residents a chance to go watch a professional sports team at an affordable price.
“The average price for a San Jose Sharks single ticket is $51,” Rockenbaugh said. “One ticket to a Rosal game at Cabernet costs an average of $12. We want the whole family to be able to experience a professional sporting event.”
The team is currently five games into its debut season in the PASL. Rosal’s next home game takes place Sunday, Dec. 15 at Cabernet Indoor Sports in Livermore against the Toros of Tijuana.
With games going on until Feb. 16, there will be plenty of opportunities to catch Livermore’s newest sports team in action.