Ontario Signs MASL Veteran Ivan Simental

by Gunnar Berndt

Former Las Vegas Legends regular joins team for games against RGV, Monterrey

By Gunnar Berndt

Ontario, Calif. – Amid thinning attacking options, the Ontario Fury has finalized a much-needed reinforcement by acquiring the rights to former Las Vegas Legends regular Ivan Simental. The native of Bakersfield, California, returns to his home state from Nevada, having been a regular with the Fury’s former Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) rivals for the entirety of the club’s existence and subsequently captaining second division outfit Las Vegas Knights. Simental, who has been a defender with the Knights, will be listed as a forward with the Fury.

The 32-year-old is available for selection immediately and will join his new mates on their trip to Texas and northern Mexico, with Ontario taking on Southwest Division powerhouses RGV Barracudas FC and Monterrey Flash on Sunday and Monday, respectively.

“We’re extremely pleased to be adding Ivan to our roster,” said Fury President Bernie Lilavois, who experienced Semintal’s physicality and determination first-hand while winding down his own playing career with the Anaheim Bolts. “He is a class individual with lots of valuable experience and a proven skill set at the highest level of indoor soccer. We look forward to him meeting up with the group and contributing right away as we enter the crucial stretch run of our campaign.”

Early in his career, the latest addition to the Ontario roster spent time as a starting forward with Cal Sate Fullerton. In 2009, he moved permanently to Las Vegas, where he joined the semi-pro Knights and in 2012 went on to land a contract with the PASL (later rebranded as MASL) expansion Legends, whom he helped to three first-place finishes in their division as well as four Western Conference final appearances in four years. Following the side’s last season in 2015-16, he reunited with the Knights, taking over the captain’s armband for the Major Arena Soccer League 2 (MASL2) club.

After transitioning from forward to defender during his stint with the Legends, the California native thoroughly embraced the position and has excelled at it ever since. However, given a recent injury to Fury striker Francisco Cordeiro and the departure of team points and goals leader Adrien Perez for Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), the Ontario front office remembered Semintal’s attacking background and worked toward bringing him on before the transfer deadline.

The Fury’s new number nine could play an important role for the side, as Head Coach Jimmy Nordberg’s men face a possible neck-and-neck race with the Tacoma Stars for the remainder of their season, with a single win currently separating the two contenders in the hunt for a Pacific Division playoff berth.

After kicking off a tough four-game road swing with a game against RGV Barracudas FC on Sunday, February 24, Ivan Simental and company will cross the border into Mexico for a clash with the Monterrey Flash the very next day. The team returns home on Sunday, March 24, for a massive meeting with the El Paso Coyotes. Tickets to all contests at Citizens Business Bank Arena may be purchased by clicking here or by calling 909-457-0252.