Key dates in the brief history of the Indiana Twisters, who played in the Continental Indoor Soccer League from 1996-1997:
February 22, 1996: At a press conference at Market Square Arena, Indianapolis officially receives its first pro indoor soccer franchise. Jorge Espinoza, who led the defunct Mexico Toros to a 17-11 record and a CISL playoff berth in 1995, is named the club’s Head Coach. George Crawford, a former standout at Indiana University, becomes the first player to sign a contract with the Twisters.
March 26, 1996: Indianapolis’ CISL team gets a name (Twisters, chosen out of 250 suggestions from Speed to Dentists; Marc Morrison and Dusty Pope each received two season tickets for submitting “Tornados”), a logo, a color scheme (red, black, and “seashell silver”), and uniforms (home, road, special occasion) at a press conference at Off-the-Wall Sports in Carmel, which will serve as the team’s practice base. The team’s 1996 schedule is also announced, with the season opener set for Friday, June 14 at Detroit. The home opener will follow on Friday, June 21, against Washington.
April 11, 1996: The Indiana Twisters select five players in the CISL Expansion Draft:
- Forward Samuel Jeronimo led the defunct Mexico Toros in scoring 31 goals in 1995. Forward Mariano Bolella ranked second on the Toros with 39 points (22G, 17A).
- Defender Arturo Velazco led the Toros’ defense with 43 blocks and was second in voting for CISL Defender of the Year. Midfielder Beronie Richardson, a former Notre Dame standout, played seven games for the Detroit Neon in 1995.
- Midfielder Joel Shanker, whose 39 blocks ranked second on the Neon, and who contributed 20 points (14G, 6A).
April 29, 1996: Moments before the start of the CISL Player Draft, the Indiana Twisters trade F Samuel Jeronimo to the Monterrey La Raza for two first-round draft picks. The Twisters draft selections:
- Former Indiana University F Steve Keller with the sixth overall pick of the first round. Goalkeeper Mile Milovac with the eighth overall selection.
- F Alejandro Moreno scored 34 points (25G, 9A) with the Mexico Toros in 1995, with the ninth overall selection. Midfielder Said Fazlagic with their second-round pick, the 20th overall.
- Veteran Defender Rich Ryerson played with the defunct San Jose franchise in 1995. In addition, forward Juan Carlos Reza played with Mexico in 1995, and Jose Luis Rojano also played with the Toros in 1995.
May 6, 1996: The Twisters’ first training camp opens with 20 players taking the field at Off-the-Wall for the first practice session.
May 21, 1996: WMYS-AM 1430 in Indianapolis is announced as the Twisters’ flagship station and will carry all 28 regular-season and all playoff games. Kenn Tomasch is named the club’s first play-by-play announcer, and Dan Kapsalis is the color commentator.
June 1, 1996: In their first exhibition game, the Twisters fall 7-6 in overtime to defending CISL finalist Sacramento in the first round of the 4th CISL Challenge Cup. Mariano Bollella scores four goals in the defeat.
June 2, 1996: The Indiana Twisters make a determined comeback from a 7-1 deficit but lose 8-5 to Seattle to finish fourth in the Challenge Cup.
June 14, 1996: The Indianapolis Twisters make their CISL debut, losing 8-2 to the Detroit Neon at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
June 21, 1996: In the first home game in franchise history, a crowd of 5,019 at Market Square Arena nearly sees the first victory. The Twisters lead Washington 6-5 with 25.1 seconds left when the Warthogs score. Billy Harte then scores at 7:22 of overtime to give the Warthogs the win. Mariano Bollella scored two goals and added two assists, and Juan Carlos Reza scored a pair of goals.
June 30, 1996: The Indiana Twisters put up another good fight but fall to defending CISL Champion Monterrey 7-6 at Market Square Arena. Samuel Jeronimo, traded by the Twisters in April, returned to haunt his old mates with four goals for La Raza. Mariano Bollella scored twice for the Twisters. The highlight was his first goal using the bottom of his indoor soccer shoes to surprise the goalkeeper.
July 3, 1996: Twisters lose for the fourth straight time, and third straight by one goal, 5-4 to defending CISL Western Division Champion Sacramento Knights at Market Square Arena. Mariano Bollella scores for the fourth consecutive game in the losing effort. The Knights get two goals from Kia.
July 5, 1996: Oswaldo Monroy scores four goals to lead the Twisters to their first victory, an 11-3 defeat of Houston at Market Square Arena. Mariano Bollella scores four points (2 goals, two assists), Matt Blackbourne scores two goals, and Jose Luis Rojano adds a goal and two assists.
July 9, 1996: Oswaldo Monroy is named the CISL Player of the Week for his six goals in 3 games the previous week, marking the first time a Indiana Twister player has received a league honor.
July 9, 1996:Twisters lose 10-6 at Portland, setting the team record for goals allowed in a game. Jimmy Clarke scores five goals for the Pride.
July 13, 1996: Twisters defeat SeaDogs in Seattle 4-3 in a shootout for the first road win in franchise history. Terry Rowe scores with 1:21 left in regulation to force overtime then strikes the deciding goal in shootout. John Kluba goes 69:57 in goal, making a season-high 16 saves and stopping 3 of 5 SeaDog shooters in the shootout.
July 14, 1996: Twisters lose 7-5 at Sacramento. John Parry scores a hat trick for the Knights, who sweep the season series.
July 16, 1996: Indiana Twisters wrap up their 4-game west coast swing with a 5-4 overtime loss at San Diego. Mariano Bollella’s goal with 1:57 left put Indianapolis ahead 4-3, but San Diego’s John Olu Molomo scored with 0:41 left to send it to overtime. After a 2-minute tripping penalty to Alejandro Moreno in overtime, San Diego’s Carlos Farias scored to end the game.
July 17, 1996: Bob Wilber, former General Manager of the NPSL’s Kansas City Attack, is named the new GM of the Twisters, replacing Rodney Goins. Goins retains his title as President while working toward joining the team as a player.
July 19, 1996: Mahntie Reeves signs, and Defender John McNab is waived. Twisters make it two wins at home, beating Seattle 4-2 at Market Square Arena. John Kluba sets a team record, allowing just two goals while making ten saves on 25 Seattle shots.
July 26, 1996: Matt Blackbourne scores on a rebound at 1:56 of overtime to give the Indiana Twisters a dramatic 6-5 victory over the Dallas Sidekicks, the franchise’s first over an original CISL team.
Indianapolis comes back from a 3-0 first-quarter deficit to tie the game at 3, then again at five on Juan Carlos Reza’s goal with just 2:13 left. The win marks the first time the Twisters have won back-to-back games and gives them a three-game home-field winning streak.
July 27, 1996: Portland scores five consecutive goals to erase the 1-0 Twisters lead on the way to an 8-4 victory, sweeping the season series. Chris Scotti scored a hat trick for the Pride.
July 29, 1996: Midfielder Mariano Bollella and Defender Terry Rowe are named to the Eastern Division team for the 1996 CISL All-Star Game. Bollella, who leads the Twisters with 21 points, is voted to a starting midfield spot in the vote of the league’s players, and Rowe earns a reserve spot. The game will be played Thursday night, August 15, at America West Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.
July 30, 1996: Twisters’ President Rodney Goins receives approval from the CISL Board of Governors to join the team as an active player and signs a three-year contract.
August 3, 1996: Indiana Twisters give up four goals in the first 7:27 and lose at Houston 9-5. Giampaolo Pedroso scores four goals for the Hotshots, who avenge an 11-3 loss at Market Square Arena on July 5.
August 8, 1996: Matt Blackbourne scores with 0:11.9 left to cap a wild 9-8 win over the Detroit Neon at Market Square Arena. The Twisters have a commanding 8-4 lead with 5 minutes left, but the Neon score four sixth-attacker goals in the span of 2:14 to tie the game.
A penalty on Detroit for having too many men on the field with 1:32 left leads to a Twister power play, and Blackbourne buries a rebound for the game-winner with time running out.
Mariano Bollella sets team records with four assists and 5 points. Mile Milovac starts for the ailing John Kluba in goal for the first time in a month and wins. Detroit’s Andy Chapman scores four goals and adds two assists for 6 points.
August 9, 1996: Drago scores with 47 seconds remaining to give the Neon a 5-4 win at the Palace of Auburn Hills and a split of their two-game, home-and-home series.
August 11, 1996: Twisters batter Washington 9-4 at Market Square Arena. Alejandro Moreno scores his second hat trick of the season, and John Kluba makes 14 saves.
August 14, 1996: Anaheim’s Dale Ervine scores four goals and adds an assist, all in the second half, to lead Anaheim to a 12-10 win over the Twisters at Market Square Arena.
The game is tied 7-7 after 3, but the Splash scored five times in the fourth, including two against sixth attacker Alejandro Moreno for the victory. Raffaele Ruotolo tallies 5 points with three goals and two assists, and Mariano Bollella ties his team mark with 5 points with two goals and three assists. The loss drops the Indiana Twisters to 6-11.
August 15, 1996: Mariano Bollella scores the tiebreaking goal and helps the Eastern Division All-Stars to a 9-8 victory over the West in the 1996 CISL All-Star Game in Phoenix, AZ. Defender Terry Rowe, selected for the game as a reserve, cannot play due to a groin injury suffered in the Twisters’ game the previous night against Anaheim.
August 17, 1996: Dallas pummels Twisters, 11-4, Indianapolis’ worst season loss. Sidekicks’ forward David Doyle scores five goals on six shots, and with two goals and three assists, Tatu breaks Steve Zungul’s all-time indoor point-scoring record.
August 22, 1996: A new investor steps forward to help the financially ailing franchise, ensuring pro soccer will remain in Indianapolis through the 1999 season. David and Rodney Goins will stay at the helm of the ownership group.
August 23, 1996: Detroit scores four fourth-quarter goals to beat Twisters 4-3 at Market Square Arena, handing Indianapolis its third straight loss.
Greg Matlak scores a hat trick in the final period, as the Neon score three times in the first 3 minutes of the quarter to tie the game at 3. Then, Matlak scored the game-winner in a shootout with under 4 minutes to play.
The loss drops the Twisters to 6-13 and 2 1/2 games behind Detroit for the final CISL playoff spot. Rodney Goins makes his debut as pro sports’ first player-owner and is held scoreless, with two fouls and a block in limited action.
August 24, 1996: Tarik Walker scores a hat trick to lead the Washington Warthogs to a 6-3 win over the Indiana Twisters at USAir Arena in Landover, MD.
The loss is Indianapolis’ 4th straight overall and 6th straight on the road. Rodney Goins scores his first career goal in the losing effort, and Marino Bollella waits until the last minute to extend his point-scoring streak to 19 games with an assist at 14:00 of the final quarter.
August 27, 1996: Goalkeeper Mile Milovac is placed on the Injured list with a knee injury.
August 28, 1996: Twisters sign former Seattle SeaDogs F Mirko Castillo and former Dallas Sidekicks GK Chuck Martini to add roster depth. Castillo, 33, began the season with Seattle and scored nine goals and three assists in 8 games before his release on July 27. Martini, a rookie from England, appeared in 6 games for the Sidekicks with a 3-3 record and 5.23 GAA.
August 28, 1996: Terry Rowe scores with 3.6 seconds left in sudden death overtime to lift the Twisters to a 9-8 win over the Dallas Sidekicks at Market Square Arena.
Indianapolis blew a 6-2 halftime lead, as Rusty Troy scored a second-half hat trick, and David Doyle scored with 1:12 left in regulation to force the extra session. Rowe scored off an Alejandro Moreno miss to give the Twisters their second OT win over Dallas at MSA this season, and break a 4-game losing streak.
August 31, 1996: Twisters trade F Juan Carlos Reza to Washington Warthogs for F Phillip Gyau and release Midfielder Said Fazlagic.
August 31, 1996: Indiana Twisters knock off their second straight Eastern Division powerhouse, defeating Houston 8-5 at Market Square Arena. Alejandro Moreno scores his third hat trick of the season, including two power-play goals. The win keeps the team’s playoff hopes alive.
September 4, 1996: Indiana Professional Soccer, Inc. suspends operations. David and Rodney Goins pull out, and the CISL takes over the team’s operation for the remainder of the season.
September 6, 1996: In their first game as wards of the league, the Twisters get blown out 11-5 in Dallas. Tatu scores a goal and adds four assists as the Sidekicks split the season series 2-2.
September 8, 1996: Twisters lose 6-3 on their first trip to Monterrey to fall to 1-10 on the road.
September 20, 1996: In front of a franchise record crowd of 9,351, the Twisters lose to Monterrey 7-4 at Market Square Arena and are officially eliminated from the CISL playoff race.
September 21, 1996: Twisters win their second-ever road game, 8-3, at Washington with five fourth-quarter goals. Mariano Bollella scores a team-record 6 points on three goals (all in the fourth) and three assists, and Mirko Castillo adds two goals and an assist as the Twisters up their road record to 2-10.
September 26, 1996: New ownership is officially found for the 1997 season as Indianapolis trucking magnates Dan and Carl Cook purchase the franchise. The team will be known as the Indiana Twisters in 1997, and a deal was reached with Market Square Arena to serve as the team’s home field.
September 27, 1996: The Twisters give up eight goals in the fourth quarter and lose at Houston 12-6, ensuring they will finish no higher than 10th in the league standings.
September 29, 1996: Mirko Castillo scores with under a minute left to lift the Indiana Twisters to an 8-7 win over the Eastern Division champion La Raza in Monterrey. The win gives the Twisters two victories in their final three games and a final record of 10-18.
Mariano Bollella caps a remarkable campaign with two goals and four assists for his second 6-point game of the season. He finishes at least a point in all 27 games he played this season.
October 10, 1996:Two Twisters receive post-season honors as D George Crawford is named to the CISL All-Rookie Team, and M Mariano Bollella is named 2nd-team All-CISL.
November 20, 1996: The Twisters officially announce their new name (Indiana Twisters), new logo, new colors (purple and kelly green), and contract agreements with Head Coach Jorge Espinoza and Off-the-Wall Sports in Carmel (to be the team’s training base), both to two-year deals.
Twisters were left in limbo following the collapse of the league at Christmas 1997. MorSports, owner of the Indiana Blast, the city’s A-League outdoor soccer franchise, purchased what was left of its assets in 1998. On February 18, 1998, MorSports held a press conference to announce its intention to enter the National Professional Soccer League. However, the Indiana Twisters never played again after those plans failed.