The last glimpse that Oklahoma Cityans had to view professional soccer was in the form of the Oklahoma City Stampede members of the American Soccer League.
Despite a gallant effort, mild interest and modest turnouts led the Stampede, and the ASL, to quiet deaths in 1984. Since then, soccer fans have feasted on a city-wide offering of club and intramural leagues to satisfy their appetites.
However, there is a new soccer league venture on the horizon a league of the indoor variety which includes Oklahoma City as a charter member.
The Southwest Indoor Soccer League, known as the SISL to acronym buffs, is the brainchild of Francisco Marcos, owner and operator of Soccer Management International an agency that represents a few players from the Major Indoor Soccer League.
After a year of bouncing the idea of a new league around, mostly off his soccer colleagues, Marcos' dream has become reality. As a result, Oklahoma City, along with Amarillo, Lubbock and Garland, Texas, and Albuquerque, N.M., have formed the beginning of what could some day be a "minor league-type" feeder system for the MISL.
At the local end of the SISL is Chico Villar, new part owner of the Oklahoma City Warriors and a man who has successfully owned and operated an indoor soccer arena on the city's west side for more than two years.
Villar first caught wind of Marcos' intentions in October when Marcos was shopping the idea around to arena owners throughout the Southwest. After discussions with Allen Totten and others at the arena, the figures finally fell into place for Villar and the Warriors were born in November.
The SISL is not actually a professional league which may be its best attribute. The franchise rosters include an array of current or former collegiate soccer players, former professional players and some who have honed their skills by playing in club leagues.
Because of the college players' status, no salary is paid in order for them to retain their eligibilty. SISL players are only compensated for expenses. In place of monetary rewards, though, players get a chance to showcase their talents and play the game they love.
Besides handling the Warriors administrative duties, Villar does double duty as head coach and scout. He handpicked a team that has a definite local flavor. Two players on the roster, Steve Myers and Michael Hardesen, have had previous professional experience with the Tulsa Roughnecks and the Stampede, respectively. Southern Nazarene University's successful soccer program is represented by assistant coach Ken Jones, along with players Fitzroy Scott and Mychal Cook.
Also, three Oklahoma Christian College students, Tim Bevins, Kerry Hees and William Rhodes, dot the Warriors roster.
"We have the best players in Oklahoma City," Villar says, "they are the cream of the crop."