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Cougars Reach Affiliation Agreement With Turlock

September 19, 2008 - Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) - California Cougars News Release

STOCKTON, Calif. - The Stockton Cougars, of the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL-Pro), are excited to announce a new player development agreement with the Premier Arena Soccer League's (PASL-Premier) Turlock Express for the upcoming 2008-09 winter season.

The Express fill the role of the Stockton Pumas as the official development team of the Cougars. The Pumas last played under the Cougars affiliation in the summer of 2008. The Pumas are on hiatus until the 2009 PASL-Premier summer season.

"I'm excited about the new partnership," said Cougars Head Coach and Director of Soccer Operations Bernie Lilavois. "This new affiliation gives me the chance to concentrate on the Cougars during our regular season and not have to work a dual role with both teams. I'm now able to scout and evaluate our developing talent from afar rather than acting as both player and coach of the Pumas."

Turlock's roster will be made up of local talent, former Pumas players and Cougars players assigned to the team by Lilavois.

"The new affiliation gives us an opportunity to work with a new organization and a professional team," said Turlock Indoor Soccer owner Art Pulido. "We will operate as the Express, but the Cougars will also assign us players in order to develop them to the professional game. We've had success here in Turlock and I'm happy that Jim (Rachels) and Bernie trust me to help develop their players."

"We've always considered Art Pulido and the Express as partners," added Lilavois. "A lot of our players, including Dalitso Muluzi, have come from Turlock or have played with the Express at some point in the Premier League."

The Cougars agreed to contract terms with Muluzi and forward Garth Archibald on March 5, 2008. Muluzi did not see playing time, but, like Archibald, did finish the year on the Cougars roster.

Express players Oscar Ramos, Joel Cruz and Hugo Brambila all attended Lilavois' 2007 preseason training camp at Stockton Arena.

Brambila and Ramos played for the "Stars of Mexico" in February and September of 2007. Brambila, a Woodland, CA native, played for California State University Stanislaus and saw time with the Modesto, CA based California Gold in 2005. Ramos played on the 1998 Stanislaus County Cruisers squad that made it to the USISL D3 Pro League West Division championship match.

Turlock finished at the top of the 2008 Summer Premier League standings (15 points) after posting a 4-1-1 record. They finished one point ahead of the Pumas and Chico Bigfoot. The Bigfoot upset the Express in the quarterfinals of the PASL-Premier Summer Nationals with an 8-5 win in late July. Off the Wall Soccer Santa Clara finished with 13 points in the standings and won the 2008 Summer Championship against Stockton.

"I think league expansion is the first step toward something big in the sport," remarked Pulido about the growth of the new PASL-Pro. "They're creating a whole new federation of arena teams in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. It's an exciting time for the sport of arena soccer."

Express home matches are played at Turlock Indoor Soccer in Turlock, CA. The facility is located at 500 S. Center St. in downtown Turlock. Turlock Indoor Soccer can be reached at (209) 634-5181 and by visiting http://www.turlockindoorsoccer.com. The PASL-Premier winter season starts in early December. More information about the PASL-Premier can be obtained at www.arenaleague.com.

The Cougars open their fourth season of professional arena soccer on October 25 against the Colorado Lightning at Stockton Arena. Season ticket plans and individual or group tickets are available by contacting the Cougars office at (209) 373-1550 or online by visiting www.stocktoncougars.net.

PASL-Pro is a newly formed arena soccer league that is made up of eight U.S. teams and four Canadian teams. The league has partnered with the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League (CMISL) and Liga Mexicana de Futbol Rapido (LMFR) in order to create a true North American league. PASL-Pro is the direct result of 10 successful seasons of the Premeir Arena Soccer League (PASL-Premier). PASL-Premier is the nation's top amateur arena soccer league. PASL-Pro and PASL-Premier are members of the Federacion Internacional de Futbol Rapido (FIFRA). More information about the PASL-Pro can be obtained at www.arenaleague.com.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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