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Susi and McDougall return to Cougars

October 7, 2008 - Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) - California Cougars News Release

STOCKTON, Calif. - 10/7/08 - The Stockton Cougars, of the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL-Pro), announce today that the club has agreed to contract terms with 10 year veteran forward Aaron Susi and re-signed goalkeeper Matt McDougall for the 2008-09 season. Per club policy, terms of the deals will not be disclosed.

For the first time in his career, Susi (34) will act as both player and assistant coach. McDougall (25) enters his third season with the club. Both Susi and McDougall played for the California Cougars of the now defunct Major Indoor Soccer League.

Susi was an original member of the Cougars and played for both the 2005-06 and 2006-07 teams. He re-signs with the Cougars after spending the 2007-08 season with the Philadelphia KiXX. He played in 29 games for Philadelphia and scored 12 goals and 16 assists for 40 points. Susi was drafted with the first overall pick by the KiXX in the 2007 MISL expansion draft.

"I'm thrilled to have Susi back with the team," said Cougars Head Coach and Director of Soccer Operations Bernie Lilavois. "He's a good forward and a great competitor. It was extremely tough to let him go in the expansion draft last season. It was a business decision and something we were forced to do. It's good to see him back as a veteran with this young team. I know that he will help us immensely as a leader on and off the field."

Susi, a graduate and letter winner at San Diego State University, ranks among the all-time best Cougars players in several statistical categories. His 73 points in a Cougars uniform ranks fifth on the club's all-time scoring list. He is also fourth in assists (24) and fifth in goals (37) scored.

"With being from San Diego, I'm happy to be back in California," said Susi. "The assistant coach and player role is something I am looking forward to and the opportunity is a good stepping stone for my career. I think we can make the Cougars the standard in the PASL, especially with the players we're bringing in."

Susi and Brian Farber are two of three players to have scored four goals in a single match while playing for the Cougars. Susi accomplished the feat on Feb. 3, 2007 against Detroit. He finished that night with a season high eight points at Stockton Arena. His eight point, four goal, match was part of a streak that saw him score at least one point in six consecutive matches. He scored a total of eight goals and five assists (21 points) over the six game run.

"I had opportunities to sign with other teams," added Susi. "But, I felt that Stockton was the best fit for me. In the end, the opportunity to coach helped me make my decision.

Susi is in his 11th season of professional indoor soccer. He adds a veteran presence to a young team that will now include McDougall for the third straight season.

Arguably the greatest goalkeeper in Sacramento State University history, McDougall owns a school record of 306 career saves. He is second all-time with 10 career shutouts and also second all-time in career goals against average (min. two seasons) at 1.45. McDougall is tied with several Hornets with a single season record 19 matches started. He also holds a remarkable single season record of 109 saves, happening in 2004. His follow up performance in 2005 saw him pick up 89 saves (second most in school history). He was named first team all-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in 2005 and second team all-MPSF in 2004. McDougall attended Jesuit High School in Sacramento, CA.

"I'm coming in open minded about the change," said McDougall about the Cougars' transition to the PASL-Pro. "The Cougars, to me, are the team to lead the way in the PASL-Pro. The Stockton Cougars will make a bigger name for themselves now and eventually bring this league up to its highest potential."

McDougall started in seven of nine matches during his rookie 2006-07 campaign. He posted a 3-3 record over those games, but was 2-1 in December 2006. He manned the net during the Cougars lone road win (at Chicago on 1/6/07) in the 2006-07 season. His second professional season was cut short due to a knee injury. He tore his left anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus during warm-ups before a match at Stockton Arena. He played in nine matches and started in four during the 2007-08 season before his injury.

"I look forward to his return to the playing field which the doctors are saying should be real soon," said Lilavois. "Having McDougall on the roster now gives us an experienced pro indoor keeper to go along with Jesus (Molina). They will be competing hard in training for the starting spot which can only make them better."

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

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