HARRISBURG -- The Heat has always been on in Harrisburg, even after the city's professional indoor soccer team folded back in 2003.
Naturally, former Heat players and coaches were happy when they first heard last week the Heat had been restored and was joining the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL).
"I certainly hope it will be hit; we were a hit back in the days," said Richard Chinapoo, Harrisburg's head coach from 1998-2002. "We provided tremendous entertainment here and a tremendous opportunity for kids to see the game.
"A lot of those former Heat players are still here (living in the area)."
Chinapoo is now the technical director of the Capital Area Soccer Association (CASA), one of the largest youth soccer program in Central Pennsylvania. Joining Chinapoo at the franchise's introductory news conference was Jim Pollihan, another former head coach, and former player Doug Petras.
The newly-formed franchise is owned by Harrisburg Heat Sports Group, LLC (HHSG, LLC) and led by David Grimaldi, the former deputy commissioner of MISL and past commissioner of the National Indoor Soccer League. The Heat, named after the original Harrisburg Heat first formed in 1991, will play its games at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center.
CBS 21 News Sports Director Jason Bristol was the first to report the revival of the franchise on May 1.
California resident Bernie Lilavois, who scored a total of 119 goals in 81 games for the Heat, excitedly tweeted about Harrisburg's return on Twitter.
Lilavois is now the head coach and managing partner of the PASL's Anaheim Bolts. He joined Harrisburg in 1999 after a trade from the Buffalo Blizzard.
"My words may not accurately express how excited and proud we are to 'turn up the Heat' again in Harrisburg," said Grimaldi during the news conference at The Farm Show. "This day has been our goal for many years. We thank the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its Department of Agriculture for their approval and for paving the way for the Heat to once again call The Farm Show our home. "To the Heat fans of Harrisburg and central Pennsylvania, we thank you for your patience and your loyalty."
With the addition of the Harrisburg, the PASL, now in its fifth season of existence, has 14 members; the Illinois Piasa, Cincinnati Kings, Ohio Vortex, Louisville Lightning, Detroit Waza, Kansas Magic, San Diego Sockers, Anaheim Bolts, Arizona Storm, Tacoma Stars, Revolucion Tijuana, Turlock Express, and the newly announced Dallas Sidekicks.
The season runs from November through March with each team playing 18 games, comprised of 16 regular season league contests (8 home/8 away), plus two US Indoor Open Cup matches.