FROM THE VERY BEGINNING: Wall of Famer Houghton helped design the pamphlet for the Lancers' first press conference, among her other roles
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Of all the people who will be inducted into the Rochester Lancers' indoor Wall of Fame on Friday, perhaps no one has been with the team longer than Lyndsay DiMeo Houghton.
She worked with owner Salvatore "SoccerSam Fantauzzo" even before the team was announced to the public in 2011.
"I remember when Sam came to me when I wasn't even working for him yet," Houghton said. "I was working for a different company. He told that he was going to start this new soccer team called the Rochester Lancers. I made the pamphlet for the announcement for the first press conference, announcing that he was going to start the Rochester Lancers. We designed it together, even the logo. I remember the colors we used.
"I still have the pamphlet at my house. I've been there since day one, minute one, maybe."
Houghton will be among 20 individuals who will be inducted into the Wall of Fame at halftime of the Lancers' game against the Baltimore Blast at the Dome Arena on Friday at 7 p.m.
Asked what her reaction was when she heard about her honor, Houghton replied, "Excitement I would say is the word. Honored would be another word I would use. Surprised. I've been part of this team since the inception."
She is the field director for the games at the Dome Arena in Henrietta, N.Y. Houghton has played many roles with the Lancers. She has worked with Fantauzzo's companies as a graphic designer, which has included designing signage, uniforms and programs for the 2011 indoor Lancers. And of course, on-the-field game-day production at the Blue Cross Arena and at the Dome Arena.
Houghton has worked with Lancers president of operations Ashley King and director of operations Kayla Kent-Moreira, along with Donna Wassdorp and Patty Powers in the front office. She helped with the team travel, uniforms, programs, signage, pre-game ceremonies and in-game productions, among other things.
For games to run smoothly, there is a ton of preparation that is needed beforehand.
"Not only did I have to keep Sam happy -- it's a party not a game -- so I had to make sure the fans were happy, but also the sponsors," she said. "I was in charge of sponsorships, all the inventory that they had like in game promotion mentions, how much signage they would get, making sure everything is displayed on the screens as well. Their logos, their commercials, making sure those were running properly; how many times during what quarter, the kiss cam, what logo would go up during the kiss cam."
Houghton still helps out, although King and Kent-Moreira have taken on many of those responsibilities.
"I'm more just game day in this round of the Lancers," she said. "I'm making sure that everything is running smoothly on the field and on the screen."
And yes, Houghton will be working on Friday when she is inducted into the Wall of Fame.
"It will be work and play," she said.
If there's one part of the job that Houghton has enjoyed more than others, its game day itself.
"Watching the games are probably the most exciting part of working for the Lancers," she said. "The goals that the Lancers score, the adrenaline that's rushing through not only the players, but the fans. They get excited when we score a goal, the dance that happens throughout the arena when we score a goal. I love the atmosphere of the entire game. It's just so much fun. It really is a party, not just a game."
One game stands out for Houghton, when the Lancers honored the West Webster Fire Department and those affected by the 2012 Christmas Eve shootings on First Responder Appreciation Day at the Blue Cross Arena on Jan. 27, 2013. The team wore commemorative black jerseys that were auctioned off after the game. Wounded West Webster firefighter Joseph Hofstetter was named honorary captain.
"It was the first time he was in the public spotlight after that terrible day," Houghton said. "He walked out onto the field. There were over 10,000 fans at that game. Everyone was so emotional. Everyone stood up. It was unbelievable. We won that game [17-8 over the Missouri Comets] and it was the highest attendance we ever had. It was the most perfect game. We had a bunch of responders out in the field, from firemen to police officers to ambulance EMT's. It was unbelievable. We had a boot drive where people would put money into the boots to raise money for the families of the men who passed away.
"That was one of the most memorable moments of my life. honest to God. I was just in awe after that game, from the pregame ceremony all the up to us winning. It was awesome. Our jerseys were made up with the logo of the fire department. It was perfect.
Houghton, a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology, is the Promotions Director and Digital Media Coordinator for Entercom, which operates several radio stations. She helps run major events in Rochester such as 92.5 WBEE Guitars & Stars, 98PXY Summer Jam, 96.5 WCMF's ROC City Rib Fest, among other events and festivals that Entercom puts on through out the year.
"I went to school for graphic design," she said. "Sam is the reason I found my passion., which is promotions. He taught me everything I know. I don't know where I would be without him."
Houghton knows where she will be on Friday night -- at the Dome Arena for the Wall of Fame inductions. Tickets can be purchased at RLancers.com or at the Dome Arena box office on game day. On Saturday at 7 p.m., the Lancers will welcome the St. Louis Ambush for another MASL match in Henrietta, N.Y.