Kansas City Comets

BorderwarSports.com Looks at the Comets Season

Editors Note: Rob Desselle writes about the Comets and soccer for BorderwarSports.com. You can check out all their soccer coverage here

A few days before the Comets season opener with the St. Louis Ambush, Co-Founder and local owner of the KC Comets, Brian “Bud” Budzinski sat down to discuss the crazy off season, positive league changes and the upcoming season.

Saying he “sat” down is a bit of an exaggeration. The 37 year old lifetime KC resident spent our time multi-tasking. Whether it was emailing staff about the upcoming opening game, finishing up last minute player contracts, dealing with a player who forgot to bring his contract back in or reviewing resumes of players as far away as Jamaica who are looking for a place to play soccer, Budzinski was a whirling dervish of activity.

Budzinski discussed the offseason which saw a parting of the ways with former co-owners Brad and Greg Likens. The split included lawsuits by both sides. This created concerns by the local soccer community that the Comets may not have a team this year. The rumor was that the team may have to suspend operations for a year.   Bud insisted that despite the lawsuits he always knew Kansas City would field a team this year in the MASL.

Front Office Moves

Before that happened, he had to restructure his front office and get league approval for the restructuring.  Fortunately, “Bud” continued a good relationship with the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena and the City of Independence. When the changes within the Comets were complete he was able to secure the IEC again for the season and move forward.

The next move was to find a coach and players.  Budzinski turned  to former KC Comets coach Kim Roentved to coach the club. Roentved is a longtime indoor soccer coach. He was a 17 time indoor soccer all star and coached the Comets from 2010 thru 2012.  “Bud” believes this was an important move to show some stability in the club.   Roentved immediately set about revamping his team to become more athletic especially in the midfield.

Roster Moves

The Comets re-signed 9 returning players including assistant coach and 1st team all league performer Leo Gibson. Also signed were longtime Comet Stefan Stokic, team captain Bryan Perez and Lucas Rodriguez.  Local players Patrick Kelly and Tanner Hunjak as well as Guerrero Pino and Ignacio “Nacho” Flores were quickly signed. While understanding the fans being disappointed in the team not bringing back Goal Keeper Danny Waltman a couple years ago or Brian Harris this year, Budzinski said, “Unfortunately it is the nature of sports.

We greatly appreciate what Harris meant to the fans but sometimes regardless of the sport, great players move on.  He added that several more familiar and quality players are expected to join the team. Their likely arrival will be after their second game against the Milwaukee Wave on November 12th. The Comets will then have almost a month to practice together before their next game.

League Changes

As for the league, “Bud” insists that it is quite a bit stronger this year than last. He was especially pleased that Monterrey re-joined the league as they have been very strong in the past. Even more importantly he pointed specifically to a league front office that  is led by 2nd year Commissioner Joshua Schaub. The Commissioner is a practicing attorney who has owned a minor league baseball team and served as a scout for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Aside from his legal background, Schaub is well respected for his business acumen. Budzinski maintains that the biggest improvement in the league office stems from the Commissioner setting up business processes and procedures.  Couple that with a full time staff in the front office of 5 people and the league has a much more professional feel than before.

Expect  2 time defending champion  Baltimore Blast, the league runners up, Sonora, and perennial powers San Diego and Milwaukee to be very good again this year.  The Comets will be competitive and should be a lot better the second half of the season after the team gets to play and practice together.  Regardless, the Comets will add their typical heat to the cold KC winter nights.