Pappas was named MISL Goalkeeper of the Year four times
Don D’Ambra to Focus on Coaching; Sanaldo Signs to Replace Pappas
Philadelphia (Saturday, November 14, 2009) – For the first time in their 14-year history, the two-time Major Indoor Soccer League champion Philadelphia KiXX will play its season opener tomorrow night without goalkeeper Peter Pappas between the pipes. In other major roster news, the KiXX have signed netminder Sanaldo, and head coach Don D’Ambra announced he plans to focus on coaching this year.
Sanaldo comes to Philadelphia via the Rockford Rampage, who he backstopped to the league title game last year. He finished the regular season with a 10-8 record and 164 saves on the year.
“Obviously, any goalkeeper that must fill the shoes of Peter Pappas has a difficult task,” D’Ambra said of his new goalkeeper. “However, I feel that Sanaldo is the best replacement that we could have found. He is a true professional and brings a high work ethic to the training sessions.”
Sanaldo began his professional indoor career with the Kansas City Comets in 2004 and was named to the MISL All-Rookie Team. The Brazilian native signed with the Baltimore Blast the following season, and his second year in the Charm City resulted in the 2005-06 MISL championship. He was then selected by the Detroit Ignition in the MISL Expansion Draft the next year and helped the team to the league title game, falling to Philadelphia. After spending the following season with the California Cougars, Sanaldo headed to the expansion Rampage.
“Sanaldo is an excellent distributor of the ball with his feet, which is important in our game, and he is capable of stepping up and making big plays in important situations,” D’Ambra continued.
Pappas started every game in net last year for the KiXX, with whom he spent his entire 13-year career. For his regular season career, he played in 416 matches and logged 23,606:01 minutes in goal. He also recorded 5,399 saves and 230 wins, while logging over an additional 2000 minutes and 450 saves in the postseason. The Philadelphia University graduate was named the MISL Goalkeeper of the Year on four occasions (2001, 2004, 2005, 2007) and was an All-League selection eight times. The Toronto native also registered four shutouts during his illustrious career, including a 4-0 blank slate over the Blast this past January.
Pappas will have number and jersey retired at an upcoming KiXX home game at the Liacouras Center this season, and that announcement will be made in the near future.
Both Pappas and D’Ambra have been playing with the KiXX since its inaugural 1996-97 season, and they are both the longest tenured professional athletes in the City of Philadelphia. While D’Ambra has not ruled out playing this year if an emergency situation arises, he has confirmed that his focus this season will be on the bench as head coach. He has been going double-duty as a player and coach since taking over for former KiXX head coach Omid Namazi during the 2002-03 season.
The Philadelphia KiXX will open their 2009-10 season on Sunday, with a road contest against La Raza de Monterrey, and the team will play its historic first game at the Liacouras Center on Saturday, January 9th, hosting the Rockford Rampage at 7:00 p.m. Season and group ticket packages for the KiXX are available now by calling 1-888-888-KiXX.