Since we’re in the midst of the holiday season, I feel it is only appropriate that we reflect on the past year and look ahead to 2011 – Louisville Lightning style., Time to lose the excess girth gained over the holidays and make our resolutions for the coming year. The Lightning will waste no time on the latter, taking on the Cincinnati Kings on New Year’s Day in a holiday rivalry. The team can get a fresh start this weekend, but to do so, they’ll need to improve on several areas in 2011.
The Louisville Lightning have exceeded hypothetical resolutions from last year in many ways. The fact that you’re reading this blog is one indication of how the team has grown. Getting Louisvillians to notice professional indoor soccer, then buy tickets to see it, was no small feat.
Less than two months into season two of its existence, the Lightning are gaining more fans and increased media exposure. In its inaugural season, the team finished second in its division, then played the San Diego Sockers for the U.S. Open Cup title earlier this year.
The Lightning accomplished tremendous things in year one, but it only raises the bar for year two.
So far this season, the Lightning became the only team in the league boasting three players with Major League Soccer experience, the highest level of professional soccer in the United States. They also earned their first win in one of the most hostile environments in the league on the road at Tijuana. However, the team is still finding its identity heading into the new year, and hopefully finding more wins as well.
For the Lightning, the best wish for the new year could be cohesiveness. Few would argue that the current team is filled with talent, but that talent has yet to play together as a unit for an entire game. The Lightning need more experience, and that only comes from time together on the pitch. The early 2010-2011 schedule has been brutal, and the team will get no reprieve this weekend against the surging Cincinnati Kings.
Off the pitch, the Lightning will make a resolution to become more community-minded. Like most sports franchises, marketing resources are limited for the Lightning, and it’s still an uphill battle to draw fans into the indoor soccer game. The Lightning are proud to call Louisville home, and the support we’ve received from the community has been phenomenal. Now it’s time for us to give back, and you’re going to see an increased local presence in the coming months. The squad plays its first home game of 2011 on Jan. 22, and the Lightning hope to have two more wins when they return to Mockingbird. Come out and help us fulfill our resolutions. Happy New Year, Lightning fans!