Major Arena Soccer League Receives Congressional Support to Allow Visas for Foreign Players
Ontario, Calif., September 18, 2023 (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) - The Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) received assistance from the U.S. House of Representatives Soccer Caucus this week to help highly talented players be granted visas to play in the United States.
Professional soccer players from around the world are currently being denied entry into the United States despite the clear intention of Congress to make sure professional athletes are able to enter the country.
In 2019 the MASL had 76 players with active P1 Visas competing and contributing to the overall competitive caliber of the league, today there are only eight players with active P1 Visas. With this shift, many talented individuals have had to return to their native countries, many after establishing themselves as esteemed members of their communities.
The MASL represents the highest level of professional indoor soccer in the world and therefore draws top-tier players from across the globe including many stars of international play. Teams need to be able to recruit the very best the soccer world has in order to maintain the fast-paced, technical, and exciting games our fans and sponsors love.
The U.S. House of Representatives Soccer Caucus and co-chairs Darin LaHood (R-IL 18th District), Rick Larsen (D-WA 2nd District), Don Bacon (R-NE 2nd District), and Kathy Castor (D-FL 14th District) have stepped in and are urging the Department of Homeland Security to fix the problem. The Caucus has sent a letter to Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging Homeland Security to take immediate action to fix this issue.
This problem is causing havoc for professional soccer players and their families as many of them count on this income to be able to not only support themselves in the United States but be able to send money back to their families in their own country. In addition, many of these players have been in the United States previously under visas and were great citizens on and off the field. Many of these professional soccer players give back to their communities in the form of visits to hospitals and schools and teaching soccer clinics to young and underprivileged children.
Christian Anderaos, a Brazilian national, debuted for the Comets in 2021 and played every game of the 2021-22 regular-season and playoffs. His college soccer was played at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Overall, Anderaos has played 46 games for Kansas City over two seasons.
Akins Banton, a native of Jamaica, joined the Kansas City Comets during the 2022-23 season. Prior to joining the Comets, Banton attended and played collegiate soccer at Columbia College of Missouri.
Junior Kazeem, from London, England, also has been a member of the Comets for two seasons, beginning in 2021 through the 2022-23 season.
Eduardo Monreal, a Mexican national, has spent two seasons with the Comets, beginning in 2021 through the end of the 2022-23 season, playing in regular-season and playoff games for Kansas City.
Lesia Thetsane, from Maseru, Lesotho, has played almost 50 games in the Major Arena Soccer League with Kansas City and Harrisburg. He played 39 games for the Comets from 2021 through 12 games into the 2022-23 season when he finished the season appearing in nine games for Harrisburg.
Despite the international success and extensive international resumés of the Comets players, they have been denied P1 visas for the 2023-24 MASL season.
The MASL joins members of the U.S. House of Representatives Soccer Caucus in calling on Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas to help with this situation. Our league, its fans, coaches, ownership, and most importantly our players from around the world are just looking for the same protection to MASL players that has been extended to players in other major sports leagues.
About Major Arena Soccer League
The Major Arena Soccer League is the highest level of professional indoor soccer, featuring teams stretching across North America, from coast to coast in the United States and Mexico. The MASL’s players originate from over 30 nations, representing the best talent from across the globe.