By Justin Gimse
Entering their third full season in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL), the Tacoma Stars have made three huge additions to the nearly-completed roster. After the signings of Alex Megson and Evan McNeley, many fans were wondering what kind of upgrade they would be seeing for the upcoming season. It looks as though the Stars have hit the trifecta with their newest additions. The signings of Alain Matingou, Ramone Palmer and Robert Palmer (not THAT Robert Palmer) are possibly the most significant pick-ups by the team since they nabbed goalkeeper Danny Waltman away from the very same Kansas City Comets in the summer of 2015.
The off-season has been picking up for the Stars, as they have also re-signed Waltman, Megson, McNeley, Derek Johnson, Troy Petersen, Chase Hanson, Joseph Cairel Duncan McCormick and Trevor Jensen. The Comet trio bring the number of new player signings to four, as the Stars inked former Seattle Sounder Philip Lund a couple of weeks ago.
The MASL has also announced a restructuring of the league. A total of 16 teams will fill out four divisions in the MASL. The Pacific Division will include the Stars, San Diego Soccers, Ontario Fury and the Turlock Express. The Southwest Division will include Soles de Sonora, RGV Barracudas, Monterrey Flash and the El Paso Coyotes. The Central Division will include the St. Louis Ambush, Kansas City Comets, Cedar Rapids Rampage and the Milwaukee Wave. The Eastern Conference will include the defending MASL champion Baltimore Blast, Harrisburg Heat, Syracuse Silver Knights and the Florida Tropics.
Tacoma will kick off the season on Friday, Oct. 27, at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
Here’s the full word from the Tacoma Stars on the new player additions:
The Tacoma Stars are headed into their third full year in the Major Arena Soccer League. With a championship push as the focus for 2017-2018, the Tacoma Stars have signed Ramone Palmer, Alain Matingou, and Robert Palmer for the new season. The Palmer’s grew up in Kingston, Jamaica, but are unrelated outside of playing together for the Kansas City Comets for the past four years after both finished college soccer at Park University. Matingou is also a Park University alum who plied his trade with the Comets in the MASL. All three players were part of the Comets Championship team in 2014, along with current Star players Danny Waltman and Alex Megson. Per team and league policies, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
Ramone Palmer, at 5’6” and 140 pounds, brings his lightning quick dribbling and scoring ability to the Tacoma Stars after playing the past four seasons for the Kansas City Comets. Ramone has found great success with the Comets. The 2010 American Midwest Conference Men’s Player of the Year helped the Comets win the 2014 MASL Championship. In the 2015-2016 season, the Comets won the Division title for the third season in a row with Ramone playing all 20 games and scoring 18 goals and 5 assists. Ramone then scored 13 goals and registered 18 assists for the Division Champion Comets in this past 2016-2017 season.
“Ramone is a dynamic goal scorer in our league with the ability to take over a game,” said Darren Sawatzky, Tacoma Stars head coach and general manager. “We will look to him to light up the score column along with our quality core of returning point getters.”
Alain Matingou, originally from Paris, France, will bring a hard, veteran defensive presence to the Tacoma Stars backline. Matingou was part of the MISL All-Rookie team in 2014 for the Comets after scoring 21 goals and adding 12 assists. At 6’1” and 180 pounds, Matingou will be a formidable force for the Stars marking opposing strikers.
“We are very excited to add Alain to our defensive line as he compliments the players we have now and gives a great opposing defender for teams with big post up players,” continued Sawatzky. “He can also score goals so we feel like we have made another good addition to our group.”
Robert Palmer, at 5’ 10” and 180 pounds, will bring his tenacious defending and consistent passing rhythm to the already staunch defending core at the Tacoma Stars. Robert scored 6 goals and added 3 assists in 19 games in the 2016-2017 season for Kansas City after another 19-game season in 2015-2016, where he registered 13 goals and 7 assists. Robert attended Park University and was a 2010 AMC First Team All-Conference player.
“Robert is under-rated in my opinion but he has been playing on a very good team in Kansas City so we are glad he chose to make the trek across the country,” finished Sawatzky. “With his great defending and team oriented style, we think he will give us a great year on and off the field.”
The three player signings signal a commitment to fielding an entertaining and playoff caliber team for the Puget Sound Community.
“We are committed to the local soccer community and the great fans we have with the Tacoma Stars, “said Tacoma Stars owner, Lane Smith. “We have added three great individuals that will bring excitement in the Arena and be wonderful assets to our community.”
The Tacoma Stars kick off the 2017-2018 home schedule on Friday, Oct. 27 at the Kent ShoWare Center.
Season ticket packages, group outings, family packs, and suite offerings for the Tacoma Stars 2017-18 season are available now. To purchase, 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), Instagram (@thetacomastars), or liking the team on Facebook.