08/04/2011 7:29 AM
BLAST VETERANS ANNOUNCE RETIREMENT
Billy Nelson and Robbie Aristodemo Retire After Lengthy Careers
Baltimore Blast President and General Manager Kevin Healey announced this week that defender Billy Nelson and midfielder Robbie Aristodemo have decided to retire prior to the start of the 2011-12 MISL season. After 10 seasons with Baltimore’s indoor soccer franchise, Nelson ranks fourth on the team’s all-time blocks list and is one of just 12 players to play in more than 200 games for the Blast. Aristodemo, who played in nearly every game throughout his nine-season career, ranks among the club’s top 20 all-time point scorers. The Blast will kickoff their 32nd season in early November.
Nelson, a local product out of Bel Air High School and UMBC, was the 2002 MISL Rookie of the Year after his 20-point, 20-block professional debut. Nelson recorded 130 points and 300 blocks in 292 career games and was a member of the Blast’s championship teams in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009. The UMBC Retrievers’ 1999 Unsung Hero, he started 79 of 80 games in four seasons and was named Second Team All-NEC Defender in 2001.
"Playing 10 seasons for the Blast and winning five championships is something I’ll never forget," Nelson said. "I loved playing in front of my family and friends and couldn’t ask for anything more. We had a good run and it was time for me to move on."
Aristodemo, the Blast team captain for the last two seasons, is moving on to the Montverde Academy in Orlando, Fla. where he will serve as the head varsity women's coach and a health teacher. Aristodemo, who won three championships in six seasons with the Blast, began his professional career for the San Diego Sockers in 2002-03. After spending the 2004-05 season in Cleveland, he found a home in Baltimore, recording 191 points in 143 games over six seasons. In addition to his indoor career, Aristodemo has seven caps for the Canadian Senior A World Cup Team, started for the Olympic Team and played in two youth World Cups with the U-20 and U-17 National Teams. He also spent five seasons with the A-League’s Toronto Lynx and was the A-League Rookie of the Year in 2001.
“I want to thank all of my teammates, coaches, trainers and fans for giving me the opportunity to pursue my passion for the last decade,” Aristodemo said. “I have been very fortunate to have met so many wonderful people that have influenced my soccer career for the better. I will miss the locker room and the daily battles on the field with my teammates; I will miss the fans cheering when we walk out onto the field; I will miss the feeling that comes from winning a championship. There will be nothing that can replace the adrenaline and excitement that I have enjoyed for the past 10 years. I have given everything I have to the sport and have always tried to be the best player that I could be and I hope my passion and love for the game gave the fans someone to cheer for. I want to say thank you to my family, close friends and teammates that have helped shaped my soccer career. I have no regrets in the game because I know that I have done everything in my power to achieve my potential. A special thank you for the Baltimore Blast for being a team that will forever be in my heart, I will always root for you guys and hope that every year is a championship year!"
The 2011-12 MISL season is set to start in early November and will feature seven teams. The Blast will take the field along with the 2011 MISL Champion Milwaukee Wave, Missouri Comets, Wichita Wings, Rochester Lancers, Syracuse Silver Knights and Norfolk SharX. Blast season tickets are on sale now, mini plans will go on sale in September and single game tickets will be available after the 2011-12 MISL schedule is announced. Tickets will be available at the 1st Mariner Arena Box Office and at all TicketMaster outlets including TicketMaster phonecharge at 410-547-SEAT. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com
. Individual tickets will cost $30, $22, $19 and $16. For additional information on Blast tickets, call the Blast at 410-73-BLAST.