The Albany Empire, an arena soccer team owned by the former NFL wide receiver Antonio Brownhas found a new coach amid a turbulent week in which former head coach Damon Ware and several other players were suspended following a public spat over pay and an incident on the team bus.
The team announced on Twitter Wednesday that Tom Menas, who led Albany to back-to-back championships before being sacked just before the start of the season, he was back with the team after just three games.
«The Albany Empire is committed to its community. We thank YOU, our fans for believing in the essence of the Empire Team and the ‘Albany Way,'» the announcement read on Twitter. «Welcome back Coach Menas!»
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The announcement follows reports that Ware, who served as offensive coordinator before taking over for Menas, was suspended along with eight players from the team after claiming they had not been paid before their Week 3 matchup against the Carolina Cobras. .
According to the Times Union, there was also an incident on the bus ride home that resulted in kicker Michael Hall filing a police report.
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Menas was reintroduced as head coach at a news conference Wednesday and acknowledged the difficult road ahead.
«It’s an impossible task,» he said, via the Times Union. «So what you do is you put a lot of effort into it, and you say a lot of prayers. And you trust a lot of relationships and a lot of people who over the years have said they want to play for you, and you call your markers.» .
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Menas will have to quickly put together a roster before Saturday’s game against the West Texas Warbirds.
He said the suspended players, who were also released, can return if they want and even requested that Ware stay on as offensive coordinator. But, according to the report, Ware accepted a position with the Orlando Predators.
«We lost some players, the players carried on. Welcome everyone to professional soccer. That’s what happens,» Menas said. «You know these players because I brought those players to you. I will also bring you the next group.»