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Cougars adjust roster before weekend tilt with Illusion and Outlaws

January 21, 2009 - Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) - California Cougars News Release

STOCKTON, Calif. - Jan. 21, 2009 - The Stockton Cougars, of the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL-Pro), have agreed to contract terms with midfielder Marco Ramirez and defender Lee Pricer, it was announced today. Both players will make their professional debut with Stockton as the Cougars face the St. Louis Illusion (4-4) and Texas Outlaws (5-4) on Friday and Saturday respectively.

Ramirez, 26, was drafted by the Cougars in the 2006 Major Indoor Soccer League College Draft from Sacramento State University. He attended Beyer High School in Modesto, CA and graduated in 2001. Ramirez has spent the past few seasons with the Stockton Pumas of the Premier Arena Soccer League.

Pricer, 28, temporarily takes the place of Antonio Sutton who injured his groin during Stockton's win against San Diego on January 11. Sutton will not play against either St. Louis or Texas, but should return for Stockton's home match against Wenatchee on January 28.

Pricer played two seasons at Ohlone Junior College before transferring to Fresno State. He received All-American honors in 1999 with the Bulldogs. Pricer also lettered three straight seasons at the varsity level while attending California High School in San Ramon.

The first stop on Stockton's weekend road trip takes them to St. Louis where they will attempt to add another win to their flawless (2-0) road record. The Illusion is led by Elvir Kafedzic and his team best 10 goals in just three games played.

Kafedzic is a former Cougars forward and played with the team during the 2006-07 season. He saw action in 15 games and was able to score three goals and one assist for seven points in a California uniform. He came to the Cougars as part of a midseason trade that also brought midfielder Semir Mesanovic to Stockton from Chicago in exchange for John Ball.

The Illusion has enjoyed a great deal of success at home this season, but has struggled to win on the road. Their Jekyll and Hyde season has seen them post a 1-4 record on the road, but a 3-0 mark at The Game Arena in Glen Carbon, IL.

The Illusion disappearing act on the road is most likely attributed to their lack of a consistent traveling roster. No other team in the PASL-Pro has used more players this year than the Illusion. Forty-three players have suited up for St. Louis. They are the only team to have used more than 30 total players in the PASL-Pro. Colorado is second in the league with 27 total players used this year.

The Cougars have suited 20 players to this point in the year and had added just one player to their initial roster until announcing the signing of Pricer and Ramirez on Wednesday.

Dave Vedder will also miss the next road trip for personal reasons. Taking his place is Renato Dos Reis, he returns to the team after missing five games due to a family emergency.

The Illusion roster features several former MISL, National Professional Soccer League and American Indoor Soccer Association stars like Daryl Doran, Joe Reiniger, and Jamie Swanner.

Doran, 45, played for five different St. Louis franchises over his 20 plus year career. Doran scored 219 goals and 312 assists for 698 points in 324 MISL games in his career.

Reiniger, 38, was drafted out of Southern Illinois University in the first round of the 1993 NPSL amateur draft by the St. Louis Ambush. He netted 22 goals and recorded 11 assists in his rookie season and was named to the NPSL All-Rookie Team. Reiniger scored more than 500 goals in his 13 year professional indoor career.

Swanner, 48, is the head coach, goalkeeper and owner of the Illusion. He played for the 1984 U.S. Oympic soccer team and earned one cap with the U.S. national team in 1984. His entire professional career was spent in the indoor game. Swanner was named the AISA Rookie of the Year during the 1985-86 season while with the Canton Invaders. He is a five-time AISA Goalkeeper of the Year award winner and two-time most valuable player. He helped lead the Invaders to four championships over his seven seasons in Canton. He also won a NPSL championship with the Ambush in 1995.

The Cougars will then attempt to redeem themselves when they face the veteran laced Texas team for the second time on Saturday. The Outlaws handed the Cougars their first loss of the season on December 5 at Stockton Arena. Rookie defender Mike Uremovich scored the game winning goal for the Outlaws in the golden goal overtime period. Former Cougars midfielder Franck Mbemba scored two goals in that 10-9 Texas overtime win against Stockton. Patrick Shamu scored one goal and added four assists for five total points in that same Outlaws win.

The Outlaws roster features several former World Indoor Soccer League, MISL and Continental Indoor Soccer League players including Shamu, Jamie Harrigan and Mark Rowland.

Cougars head coach Bernie Lilavois leads his team with 23 points in six PASL-Pro games. He is second on the team with 14 goals and leads the team with 11 assists. Brian Farber leads the Cougars in PASL-Pro and overall play with 14 and 22 goals respectively.

Both games will air on 1420AM KSTN. Friday's match is a full broadcast and begins at 5:00PM with the Cougars' pregame show. Saturday's game will be tape delayed. Both matches are also available online at www.stocktoncougars.net.

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