Blast owner Ed Hale announced yesterday that three new teams will join the Major Indoor Soccer League for the 2007-08 season, swelling the ranks to nine.
"The worst part of the soccer league are owners," said Hale, who added that he hoped the infusion would help change that. "We're adding Newark, N.J., Orlando and Monterrey, Mexico, and there's a very good shot we'll have three more teams in the near future to bring us to 12."
In two of the new venues, Newark and Monterrey, the owners also own the buildings in which their teams will play. For now, the MISL will operate with six franchises.
At a preseason news conference, Hale also said 1st Mariner Arena will be upgraded with plasma screens and more security for this season, which begins Nov. 4 in Detroit against the expansion Ignition and at home Nov. 11 against the Chicago Storm.
Hale added that Kevin Healey, the Blast's general manager since the 1998-99 season, has been promoted to president.
Healey introduced coach Danny Kelly, who served on an interim basis after Tim Wittman was suspended in midseason for assaulting two officials after a game, as the permanent choice. Kelly selected David Bascome as his new assistant coach.
Kelly will stop playing to concentrate on his bench duties and Bascome will be a player-assistant.
The Blast will open training camp Monday.