Sockers honor Wright, to fete other team legends at Reunion Night on Saturday

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The San Diego Sockers won 48 consecutive games to set a U.S. professional sports-record winning streak at 48 games last year. The Sockers dropped their opening two games at the start of this season but appear to be working on another marathon winning streak after recording their seventh-consecutive victory after defeating the Toros de Mexico, 12-7, Sunday afternoon in Tijuana.

The San Diego Sockers won 48 consecutive games to set a U.S. professional sports-record winning streak at 48 games last year. The Sockers dropped their opening two games at the start of this season but appear to be working on another marathon winning streak after recording their seventh-consecutive victory after defeating the Toros de Mexico, 12-7, Sunday afternoon in Tijuana.

The Sockers return to the Valley View Casino Center (formerly Sports Arena) on Saturday, Jan. 11, to host the Las Vegas Legends in a battle for first place in the PASL Western Division standings. The Sockers improved to 7-2 after the win over the Toros while the Legends are 8-1. However, the Sockers handed the Las Vegas team its lone loss of the season, 7-5, Dec. 15 in Nevada.

This Saturday’s game will take on truly legendary proportion when the Sockers host Reunion Night as they honor the storied franchise’s legendary players from the past, including the inductees into the first two classes of the Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame.

Those celebrated Hall of Famers would include Steve Zungul, Branko Segota, Kevin Crow, Victor Nogueira, Juli Veee, Ron Newman, Zoltan Toth and Brian Quinn.

Grossmont High School alumnus Paul Wright will eventually have his name added to that illustrious list.

Wright, now officially retired at 43, suited up for the Sockers during four tours of duty with the team and seven championship runs, including three with the PASL edition of the team. The Grossmont High School alum is the only player to win both a MISL and PASL championship in San Diego. 

He first appeared for the Sockers as a 19-year-old in 1990, wining the MISL championship series “unsung hero” award as the Sockers claimed the MISL title. He subsequently played four years with the Kansas City Wizards of Major League Soccer from 1996-99. Wright’s stints with the Sockers included 1990-92, 2002-05, 2009-11 and 2012-13.

The latest edition of the Sockers honored Wright during its Dec. 28 home game against the Ontario Fury by formally presenting him with last season’s PASL championship ring. 

“Paul Wright is one of the great athletes San Diego has ever produced and a true champion,” Sockers general manger John Kentera explained. “It’s only right that we honor Paul in front of all the fans who watched him play for 25 years at such a high level.”

Wright was visible moved by the on-field ceremony, which took place between the first and second quarters of the Dec. 28 game. Fans also had their emotions tugged as several well-wishers reached over the dasher boards to give Wright heartfelt hugs as he walked onto and exited the playing surface.

While at midfield under the spotlight, he proudly showed off his seven championship rings to his admiring fans.

“It was very special,” Wright said. “I have been looking forward to the night for a while. It’s nice to be back around the team — these guys are all my brothers.”

When asked which of his seven championship titles he savors the most, he answered the first and the seventh.

“There are five in the middle but the ones I cherish the most are the first one and the last one,” he said. “You always remember the first and the last one was special because it was my final season before I retired.”

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