Mohawk Valley Garden CEO Rob Esche and Major Arena Soccer League commissioner Joshua Schaub, along with other officials, announced Wednesday that Utica will field a professional indoor soccer team — called Utica City Football Club, or FC for short — that will play home games at the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium beginning with the 2018-19 season this fall.

The team — which relocates from Syracuse after seven seasons — will play in the MASL, which is the highest level of professional arena soccer. The league has 17 teams in the United States, Canada and Mexico, including the Blast. The new Utica team will play 24 games during a regular season that stretches from Dec. 1 to March 31. The schedule has not been released.

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The closest MASL team to Utica is Harrisburg, Pa., which is 273 miles away. Toronto, the next closest team, also is expected to begin play in 2018-19. According to the MASL website, Utica is in the Eastern Division with the Blast, Harrisburg, Orlando, Toronto and Florida.

Blast hang on at Monterrey, 4-3, to win third MASL title in row, Baltimore's 10th indoor crown

The Blast jumped to a 4-1 lead and captured their third straight MASL championship and Baltimore's 10th in the 37 straight years of professional indoor soccer.

The announcement also featured the unveiling of the team's logos and jersey. The team's colors are light blue, royal blue and white.

Utica nearly gained a professional indoor team in late 2010 after a United Soccer League official called Utica's downtown arena “the perfect venue,” according to the Observer-Dispatch's archives. However, plans to bring a team in Utica never materialized.

The downtown Utica arena, which has undergone its share of changes recently, including an extensive multimillion dollar renovation and construction project last summer, is home to the American Hockey League's Utica Comets, the Utica College men's and women's hockey programs as well as the Utica Jr. Comets. Recently, it was announced the Syracuse Stars junior hockey program will have three of its teams play games in Utica next season.

Because of the packed schedule, Tanner said a majority of the team's 12 home games will likely be played Sunday afternoons.

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