The United Soccer Leagues (USL) has announced that Baltimore Blast Owner Ed Hale will be one of three inaugural inductees into the MISL Hall of Fame this year.  Hale, who has owned the Blast for 17 years, has been instrumental over the years in keeping indoor soccer in Baltimore and in keeping the entire league afloat.  The Hall of Fame Class of 2011 will be inducted at the USL Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, December 16, 2011 at the Hilton Clearwater Beach.  USL Honorees were chosen through a vote of current Hall of Fame members and USL teams.

Hale was chosen as a “Builder”, a visionary who has forged and built the sport of soccer in North America.  Hale, who is in his second stint as owner of the Blast, first owned the club from 1989-92 and re-purchased the team in 1998.  During Hale’s second stint, the Blast have become a league power, winning their first league championship in almost two decades in 2003.  That victory triggered a remarkable run of success that saw the Blast win additional championships in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009.  In addition to his work with the Blast, Hale is a respected member of the Baltimore business community and is currently the CEO of Visit Baltimore, formerly the Baltimore Area Visitors and Convention Association.

“I am humbled to be included as an inductee in the Hall of Fame with Keith and Tatu who are legendary in our sport,” said Hale.  “I am also pleased that we have joined the United Soccer League in a collaborative effort to build our sport in North America.”

Established in 2002, the USL Hall of Fame celebrates the longevity of USL and the people and franchises who have helped USL’s professional and elite amateur leagues grow since its founding as a five-team indoor league in the Southwest in 1986.  The USL Hall of Fame honors the best and brightest of North American soccer in three categories:

Builders - Honoring the visionaries who have forged and built USL and the sport of soccer in North America

Coaches - Honoring the bench bosses who have worked tirelessly to achieve success year after year

Players - Honoring the players who have excelled on the field at all levels within USL, as well as those who have gone on to achieve national prominence following their USL careers

This year USL took the extra step of dividing the Hall of Fame into three distinct wings - The USL Men’s Hall of Fame, the USL Women’s Hall of Fame and the MISL Hall of Fame.  In addition to Hale, long-time Milwaukee Wave Coach Keith Tozer and former Dallas Sidekicks and Wichita Wings player Tatu will be inducted into the MISL wing of the Hall of Fame.

The Blast opened 2011-12 season on Saturday with a loss to the Syracuse Silver Knights and will travel to play the Missouri Comets (3-0) and Wichita Wings (0-3) this weekend for road games.  Blast season tickets and five-game mini plans are on sale now through the Blast office.  Single-game tickets are available at the 1st Mariner Arena Box Office and at all TicketMaster outlets including TicketMaster phone charge at 410-547-SEAT.  Tickets can also be purchased online at  Tickets cost $30, $22, $19 and $16.  For additional information on Blast tickets, call the Blast at 410-73-BLAST.

United Soccer Leagues

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, USL has become the largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America by building on the vision, commitment, and passion of players, fans and investors. Now in its third decade of operation, USL continues to be a driving force in the growth of soccer in the United States, Canada and Caribbean. USL provides a clearly defined path for the progression of male and female soccer players beginning at the youth level (Super Y-League/Super-20 League), continuing through the amateur level (PDL/W-League) and up to the professional level, both outdoor and indoor (USL PRO/MISL). A platform for countless players to reach for their dreams each year, USL is devoted to developing the sport at the grassroots level in every community across the region.

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