I had the opportunity to speak with Cleveland Crunch Vice President Luciano Ruscitto over the phone to discuss the next steps in the organization’s process to field a team for the 2020-21 season. The main topics were the impending launch of the Crunch’s online marketplace and next month’s tryouts.
The team is excited to announce the launch of its online store. It is tentatively scheduled to go online later today (November 6), but Mr. Ruscitto stated that if it is not launched today, it will be available by next Monday or Tuesday. The initial offerings will include hoodies, short-sleeve t-shirts and long-sleeve t-shirts. Each will be available in two designs, the Comeback (celebrating the Crunch’s return) and the Championship (honoring the Crunch’s previous championship seasons). The club will expand its online marketplace in the future and plans to have merchandise and discounts specifically for members of the team’s fan club.
UN1TUS, an early sponsor of the Crunch, will provide the merchandise and manage the online marketplace for the organization. Interestingly enough, the owner of UN1TUS is Tony Dore, who played for the Crunch during the 1997-98 season.
The conversation shifted to the team’s upcoming tryouts. The Crunch will hold tryouts on December 12 and 13 at the Soccer Sportsplex in North Olmsted. Both sessions will run from 12-2 p.m. Those who sign-up now through November 30 will be able to take advantage of the early-bird registration price of $65. Starting on December 1, the price of registration will be $80. The team will permit walk-in registrations on the first day of tryouts, however, these openings may be limited for those not pre-registered. Interested parties can register at the Crunch’s website.
The tryouts are open to anyone 17 and up with a valid ID, but those under 18 must be accompanied by a legal guardian, who is required to complete additional registration paperwork at the door. Players must attend both days of the tryout to be considered for the initial team roster.
Those participating in the tryouts will have the opportunity to be evaluated by Crunch legend Hector Marinaro. The aforementioned Tony Dore along with others will also evaluate attendees. The club is expecting at least 50 people to attend the tryouts and plan to ultimately field a team of 15-20 members. Those attending the tryouts can expect to know if they made the initial team roster by the middle of the week following tryouts.
For those with COVID-19 concerns, rest assured that the organization is implementing safety measures for those attending. Masks and social distancing are expected for everyone except those in the field of play. Players are asked to bring their own equipment and water and to self-check before arriving at the facility, e.g., take their temperature. Those feeling ill are encouraged to stay home. For those unable to attend, the Crunch will host another round of tryouts in the Spring (date TBD). Questions regarding tryouts can be directed to Cleveland Crunch Tryouts Coordinator Christopher LaPaglia.
Finally, Mr. Ruscitto indicated that the coaching search will begin at the end of the year and that fans can expect to see the Crunch take part in preseason tournaments and exhibition games starting in February.
Keep checking clesportstalk.com for more Crunch news.
*Featured image is property of the Cleveland Crunch.