M2 soccer will return to Cincinnati, Ohio with the newly rebranded and structured Swerve organization set to kickoff this season. The formally known Cincinnati Swerve played in the league during its first season in 2017-18. The Swerve were an impressive 9-3 that year, advancing to the M2 championship round where they defeated the Colorado Blizzard before falling to the eventual champion Chicago Mustangs.
The Swerve recently announced a partnership and new co-branded logo with Brew City Legends of the PASL to develop players on the field with this M2 and PASL team. The Swerve will be the name for both teams, with the team out of Cincinnati playing in the M2, and new logo displayed on both.
“The Swerve have a great history, and a commitment to soccer at virtually every possible level,” Commissioner Chris Economides said. “They will be very competitive right out of the gate, and provide a strong challenge to rivals like Chicago, Muskegon and now of course the champion Cleveland Crunch which will be an immediate and great intrastate rivalry.
With its winning history in M2 and the Premier Arena Soccer League, the Swerve organization are no strangers to indoor fans, especially in the competitive midwest.
Longtime indoor soccer player Craig Rhodis will act as the teams technical director, with the Swerve playing its home games in the Game Time Training Center in Fairfield, Ohio. Rhodis played professionally for 16 seasons – starting with the Cincinnati Silverbacks of the National Professional Soccer League with stops with the Portland Pythons, Utah Freeze, 1790 Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Kings – and has earned several coaching licenses and his scouting certificate. In 129 career indoor games, the defender scored 32 goals and added 36 assists.
Rhodis said under this new partnership and organization structure with Brew City, it was a good time for the Swerve to move back up to the M2 level.
“As we’ve grown, it’s about finding the highest level of competition our players deserve,” Rhodis said. “We’re trying to find the best level of play, so that makes M2 right for us. It’s a good fit. We’ve already developed quite a rivalry with the Mustangs. That’s really become a matchup to look forward to every year.”
“I’m excited about the league, where it is at, and it’s ability to grow,” Rhodis also noted said. “Truthfully, from someone who’s been around it for a while, it wouldn’t surprise me to see this league grow to 24, 25 teams in the next couple of years.”
The team will likely be coached by former Milwaukee Wave goalkeeper and former Wave and St. Louis Ambush assistant coach Mark Litton, following the partnership and restructure of the Swerve and Brew City Legends.
“Essentially it’s a chance for the best players from Brew City and the best players from the Swerve to combine into an M2 team,” Rhodis said. “And eventually we’ll have an affiliation with a MASL team. Once we get that affiliation, we’ll have within our organization that true through line from the PASL to the MASL. That’s the goal. Our main focus here is to provide an opportunity”
The Swerve hope to field additional indoor teams this winter.
“The plan is to have our M2 team return, and have at least one PASL team, and maybe two,” Rhodis added.
Major Arena Soccer League 2 will kick off its 2021-22 season this winter, with each team playing a 12-game regular season schedule. For more information, visit m2soccer.com.
Story by Brian Ackley, M2