March 7, 2014 - Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL)
The Professional Arena Soccer League today announced its annual Coach of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards at a press conference in Chicago.
Chicago Mustangs Head Coach Armando Gamboa and forward Efrain "Wilo" Martinez were this year's top coach and player, respectively, based on voting conducted by the teams and the league's front office.
Gamboa, who replaced Narciso Cuevas behind the bench midseason last year, led the Mustangs to a perfect 16-0 record in their second PASL season. The Mustangs were just the second PASL team to win 16 games in a season. Chicago, despite losing last year's top two scorers -- Nestor Hernandez and Omar Tapia -- to free agency, set a league record with 202 goals and had a 7.4 goal average margin of victory.
Martinez led the PASL with 63 points and tied for the league lead with 40 goals. The two-time Liga Mexicana Futbol Rapido scoring champion, was signed by the Mustangs in the offseason. He made his PASL debut last season with the Rio Grande Valley Flash. In 23 PASL regular season and playoff games, Martinez has led his teams to a 22-1 record, with the only loss coming in last year's Newman Cup Semifinals. "Wilo" is easily recognizable with his signature ponytail and post-goal flip celebration.
In all, seven coaches and nine players received votes. Gamboa had nine votes and Cleveland Freeze coach Hector Marinaro was second with four. Martinez received five votes and San Diego Sockers forward Kraig Chiles and Las Vegas Legends Enrique Tovar were tied for second with three votes apiece. Chiles had won the previous three MVP trophies.
The Mustangs are hosting the PASL's Ron Newman Cup Championship Weekend March 15-16 at the Sears Centre. The PASL Semifinals will be played back-to-back on March 15 and the Newman Cup Championship will be played on Sunday, preceded by a third place game. The Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL-Premier) Winter Nationals will also be held over the two days at Grand Sports Arena and the Sears Centre. The Mustangs, Las Vegas Legends, Hidalgo La Fiera and the winner of March 8th's Detroit Waza Flo/Cleveland Freeze game will make up the PASL's final four to compete for the Newman Cup.