January 21, 2020
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- As the Rochester Lancers' director of operations, you name it and there's a good chance that Kayla Kent-Moreira probably has handled it for the Major Arena Soccer League team.
She is in charge of the team's travel plans, player contracts, uniforms, field time, ticket sales, sponsorships, game day operations, internship program and social media.
"I mean basically, a little bit of everything," Kent-Moreira said. "I am also the accountant per se. I also do billings for Salvatore's as well."
That would be Salvatore's Old Fashioned Pizzeria.
"I guess you would call me like a GM," she said.
Kent-Moreira doesn’t mind all those roles.
"But it's ok. No two days are the same,” she said. “It just makes your days fly by. I hate having nothing to do and being bored, so I don't ever have that issue."
Not only has Kent-Moreira juggled all those responsibilities in quantity, but in quality as well, which is a big reason why she was among 20 people who will be inducted into the Lancers indoor Wall of Fame at halftime of the club's Jan. 31 match with the Baltimore Blast at the Dome Arena.
"I guess I was kind of shocked," she said. "I'm so honored because I have poured my heart and soul into the Lancers. So it's nice to feel rewarded and recognized for it."
Team owner Salvatore "SoccerSam" Fantauzzo has lavished praise on Kent-Moreira and Lancers president Ashley Maria King in public and on the radio, saying that they each do the work of 10 people.
"Kayla works extremely hard on bringing in groups and fans," Fantauzzo said. "Selling out all our games at the Dome is all her."
Needless to say, Kent-Moreira said it has been gratifying to hear the plaudits.
"It definitely is," she said. "Ash and I both do a lot. A lot of people ask us how and why, but I don't know if I would have it any other way because I got my job right out of college. I wouldn't be half the professional that I am if I didn't work in a job where I had so many responsibilities. I've literally learned how to run an organization inside and out, soccer and pizza. It's pretty cool and to hear Sam always praise us. It's obviously really nice. It keeps you going, especially when it's long hours, long days and right now seven and a half months pregnant. So, it's nice to hear from him and know how much he appreciates us day in and day out."
She is married to Lancers goalkeeper Marcelo Moreira and they have a daughter, Jilliana.
Kent-Moreira and King have formed one impressive dynamic duo on the Lancers.
"Kayla and I are a good team and I couldn't think of someone better to work with," King said. "We fit together and have an amazing dynamic. We joke all the time that we would go absolutely crazy if we didn't have each other to lean on."
Kent-Moreira grew up in Lyndonville, N.Y., a small town between Rochester and Buffalo on Lake Ontario. She grew up playing soccer for a youth team, in high school and at the beginning of college before transferring to St. John Fisher College to major in sports management. While doing an internship with the Rochester Rhinos, she met Rich Randall, who eventually became Lancers vice president.
"I might have made a couple of random sales when I was with the Rhinos and I think that intrigued him when I applied. I got the job," said Kent-Moreira, who came on aboard with the Lancers towards the end of the 2011-12 season.
After the Lancers went on hiatus after the 2014-15 season, she moved to St. Louis with Moreira, who continued his goalkeeping career with the Ambush. Kent-Moreira eventually moved back to Western New York and worked for the Western New York Flash in the National Women's Soccer League. The team captured the 2016 title but moved south to become the North Carolina Courage. Several months later, the Lancers went to the great outdoors with a men's side and the Lady Lancers and Fantauzzo asked her to return.
Speaking of returning, Moreira came out of retirement on Jan. 16 to help the Lancers the rest of this season. Former Lancers assistant coach Rey "Boom Boom" Martinez had the two meet when Moreira and his Syracuse Silver Knights played the Lancers at the Blue Cross Arena in 2014.
"We ended up on a date and then it was just game over," Kent-Moreira said. "He then came to play in Rochester. We've been everywhere and now he's back."
Moreira has enjoyed a pro career that span a quarter of century.
"He's had an extremely long career," Kent-Moreira said. "He spent 10 years with Palmeiras, which is amazing. He played with Cafu, Rivaldo, Marcos, all the greatest in Brazil. So, he's had absolutely an amazing career and got to experience so much. He wants to help teach our younger goalkeepers Brian [Wilkin] and Christian [Esposito] the game of indoor and leave them in a good place to carry on for the Lancers. He's lucky to have had such a long career."
Like several other members of the organization, Kent-Moreira's said that "probably my greatest memory was the trip we all got stranded." That happened in January 2014, when inclement weather caused all sorts of havoc during a trip to the Midwest.
"We really only planned to have been gone for three days and we ended up being gone for 10 days in Kansas City, Chicago, Milwaukee," she said. "It was so much fun and a total experience. In 2011-2012 to 2015 we went to so many cities traveling with the team, just learning from all the other clubs on what they do and how we can do it better. Those are all my favorite memories.
"Obviously, the Lancers brought me to my husband. So, it's been a whole long, exciting ride."
The Lancers will play two games the final weekend of the month, including a Sunday 7 p.m. match against the St. Louis Ambush at the Dome Arena in Henrietta, N.Y.
Tickets for both games are still available at RLancers.com or at the Dome Arena box office on game day.