By NICK STOVER
The Louisville Lightning, a third-year Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) franchise, was knocked out of its first PASL playoffs at home March 2 by the Kansas Magic. The 9-5 loss ended a landmark year for the organization.
The Lightning defeated the Magic three times in as many months.
However, it is difficult to beat a team in any sport four times in a row.
Success is truly a double-edged sword when it comes to the Lightning’s roster.
Over the past three years, ten players among the Lightning training camp claim experience with Major League Soccer (MLS) teams – not including Lightning Head Coach.
Being so decimated by success makes it a challenge to continually reload during the end of the season when others seem to be finding their stride.
Depending on who you talk to, this could be a sign Louisville is or is not the right place for a professional soccer team.
However, the Lightning maintained an average of more than 1,000 fans at home games for the third consecutive year, while boasting 30 percent higher investment from corporate partners and receiving more exposure in the local media than ever before.
It is the only indoor soccer team in the PASL (and possibly the entire country) to have had multiple games on television this season.
However, of all the achievements this year the Lightning should be most proud of its effects on Louisville.
Simply visit the team’s web site or Facebook pages to glimpse the greatest trophies: pictures of smiling kids representing youth soccer clubs with derisive histories cheering for a common cause; lists of philanthropic groups such as Dare to Care and the Wayside Christian Mission who were helped by the Lightning this season.
Ticket sales have already begun, spring break camps are scheduled and summer tournaments in the community are being planned.