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Soccer Spotlight:
Five KiXX Members Selected To 2004 MISL All-Star Game
Pappas And Vasic Will Battle Versus Teammates D'Ambra, Morris And Shanker

Wednesday, February 4, 2004

By David Deal
Philadelphia KiXX Director of Communitions

The Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) announced today that five members of the Philadelphia KiXX have been selected to the 2004 MISL All-Star Game, to be played on Sunday, February 29 at the Family Arena, home of the St. Louis Steamers, in St. Charles, MO. Goalkeeper Peter Pappas and forward Goran Vasic will represent the League’s International team, while player/coach Don D’Ambra, defender Pat Morris and forward Joel Shanker will compete with the MISL USA squad.

Each All-Star team is comprised of 16 players: two goalkeepers, six defenders, and eight midfielder/forwards. Players holding U.S. citizenship will represent the MISL USA unit, while individuals with foreign citizenship will compete with the MISL International side. The selection process used a panel of five voters, comprised of club personnel and local media members, from each team in the nine-member MISL. For the first time in League history, the starting lineups for each squad will now be determined by the fans via an online vote on the MISL’s official website, This voting process will commence on Friday, February 6 and conclude at midnight on Sunday, February 22. The results will then be announced on Thursday, February 26, at the MISL All-Star Welcome Reception, to be held at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, MO, from 6:30 – 9:00 pm ET.

Pappas makes his seventh consecutive All-Star appearance, and will have the opportunity to start for the fifth consecutive season pending the online voting results. Currently, the Toronto, Ontario native owns a 12-6 overall record, ranking him third in the League in wins, goals against average (4.48) and saves (259). Pappas also sits second in the MISL with a .762 save percentage, turning away 259 of the 340 total shots he has faced this season. The 31-year old netminder completely shut down the San Diego Sockers on January 17, stopping all 16 shots he faced en route to a 5-0 shutout. His performance marked the first shutout in the modern-day MISL and the third of his professional indoor career. For his play this season, the Philadelphia University graduate has received four MISL Goalkeeper of the Week honors (seven day periods ending October 5, October 12, January 18 and February 1) and two Goalkeeper of the Month accolades for his play throughout the month of October and January.

Six-year veteran Vasic was selected to his first All-Star squad and will join Pappas on the MISL International unit. The native of Belgrade, Yugoslavia currently sits tied for seventh in the MISL, first on the team, with 33 points on 10 goals and 23 assists, which rank second in the nine-team League. Vasic exploded offensively for a season-high six assists versus the Kansas City Comets on November 15, shattering his previous single-game high of four and tying the franchise mark of six feeds in a single contest. The 31-year old forward has eclipsed numerous career accolades throughout the course of the current 2003-04 season, including his 200th career game played, 150th goal, 150th assist, 300th point and 100th block. He was named the MISL Offensive Player of the Week for the seven-day period ending November 30 and the League’s Offensive Player of the Month for his play throughout the month of November.

KiXX player/coach D’Ambra makes his second consecutive All-Star appearance and the second nod of his 10-year career. The Philadelphia native has recently exploded offensively, registering 10 of the club’s 23 total goals in the last five contests. The St. Joseph’s product played a role in each of the team’s six goals versus the Monterrey Fury on January 24, finishing with four goals and two assists for six points. That performance marks his best outing while donning a Philadelphia KiXX uniform. D’Ambra notched a pair of goals in the club’s home-opening victory over the Baltimore Blast on November 1 to push him over the 350-point plateau as a member of the KiXX, by far the franchise best. Shortly thereafter, he recorded his 450th career point with a single tally versus the Monterrey Fury on November 22. D’Ambra currently ranks second on the club (tied 15th MISL) with 27 points on 23 goals and four assists this season. The 31-year old forward also sits tied for first on the League’s leaderboard with five game-winning goals.

Morris, selected to his third consecutive All-Star game, solidifies the KiXX defense while establishing himself as the franchise’s iron man. The five-year veteran has appeared in 168 of the team’s 185 total contests since he first stepped onto the floor as a rookie in the 1999-00 season. The Philadelphia native did not miss a single game in either the 2000-01 season or the 2002-03 campaign and is in the midst of an 86 consecutive games played streak. Morris, a Philadelphia University graduate, rejected a season-high seven shots versus the Monterrey Fury at the Monterrey Arena on January 29. The 26-year old defender now ranks second in the MISL with 46 blocks this season and is tied for fifth on the team’s scoring list with 16 points on 12 goals and four assists. This season, the two-time All-League selection has been honored as the MISL Defender of the Week for the seven-day periods ending December 28 and January 11. Morris has also been tabbed the League’s Defender of the Month accolade for his performance throughout the month of January.

Shanker, a St. Louis, MO native, returns to his hometown for his third consecutive All-Star nomination to join teammates D’Ambra and Morris on the MISL USA unit. The seven-year veteran has been extremely consistent this season, ranking in the League’s top-20 in scoring for the majority of the current 2003-04 campaign. Shanker has been held scoreless in only three of the club’s 21 total contests and currently sits third on the KIXX scoring list (tied 17th MISL) with 26 points on 18 goals and eight assists. The 2002 MISL All-Star Game Most Valuable Player was selected to start for the Eastern Conference in the 2003 MISL All-Star Game, but withdrew him nomination due to injury.

The 2004 MISL All-Star Weekend will encompass three days of festivities designed to celebrate the past, present, and future of indoor soccer. Included in the celebration will be the SPALDING All-Star Youth Skills Competition, the MISL All-Star Skills Challenge, the famous MISL Autograph Alley, and The Commissioner’s Gala: A Celebration of Excellence. The All-Star extravaganza will culminate on Sunday, February 29, with the League’s showcase event, the 2004 All-Star Game, at 1:05 p.m. CST, followed by a Legends Game featuring a galaxy of former indoor greats in an MISL Legends versus St. Louis Steamers Legends format.

©2004 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.