January 16, 2020
ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- It has been quite an amazing few weeks for Sean Hantes.
The Rochester Lancers midfielder got married to his fiancé Jocelyn at the end of December and will be inducted into the team's indoor Wall of Fame on Jan. 31.
"I've been so fortunate to be surrounded by so many amazing people," Hantes said. "I truly am blessed."
Hantes and 19 other individuals will be part of the inaugural induction class of the Wall of Fame in halftime ceremonies of the Lancers' game against the Baltimore Blast at the Dome Arena on Friday, Jan. 31.
"Definitely very honored," he said. "I was kind of surprised. I feel like there are so many people who are so important to the Lancers organization. I feel like there's about 50 people that are way more important than I will ever be to that organization. To be thought of in that nature with all these other amazing people, I'm so gracious and I am humbled. It's such a great feeling that Sam feels that I am such an important of the organization. It's amazing."
That would be Lancers owner Salvatore “SoccerSam” Fantauzzo.
Hantes' career with the Major Arena Soccer League team has been one of patience and persistence.
He tried out not once, not twice, but three times with the team.
After the Lancers were formed prior to the 2011-12 season, the former Gates-Chili and University of Rochester standout decided to vie for a position with the club.
"I had kind of stopped trying out for professional teams at that point, but I was still interested in playing," Hantes said. "I was still young. I was like, 'Why not? I'm going to try out for this team. It's local. It's professional. It’s indoor. I really like the indoor game. I believe I was 25 when I tried out. I had a fantastic combine. I scored goals in each one of our little scrimmages that we had, but for some reason I wasn't given a call back. The same thing happened the year after that.
"Each year they had a new coach and I was like, 'Ok, there's a new coach. Maybe they're looking for different players. I'm going to give it another shot. The first time it didn't work. The second time it didn't work, but I stuck with it. I continued to play as much as I could in the offseason."
The third time, however, was the charm before the 2014-15 season.
"When Doug [Miller, head coach] took over, I was either 26 or 27," Hantes said. "I had a combine. He noticed me. We had a conversation. He was gracious enough to offer me a spot on the team. I did my best every day to make sure I showed him how much it meant to me and I worked my butt off."
All a player needs is one coach to believe in him or her.
"Just having someone who is instilling confidence in you, just saying, you are a good player, you are a quality player, you can play at this level," Hantes said. "Having someone like that by your side makes you work hard, makes you want to be better, makes you the best player you can be. It truly is amazing."
Hantes, who works as a financial advisor for Edward Jones when he isn't performing for the Lancers, had an interesting conversation teammate Jeremy Ortiz, who is a stockbroker in Philadelphia when they prepared for the 2019-20 Major Arena Soccer League season. They hadn't seen each other in four years.
"This was our first conversation. 'I see you're working on the markets.' 'I see you're a broker,' " he said. "That's all we talk about. It's such a completely different relationship from when we first met. Five years ago, it was all about soccer. Now, it's about buying ... in the markets. It's so much fun talking to him.
"I was 27 and he was 28 when we first met. Now we're 32 and 33. You just evolve. You're in a different place in your life. We both want what's best for each other. If we can help each other out in some way, why not?"
Hantes didn't major in financial planning at the University of Rochester.
"It's always something that I've been interested in," he said. "I just didn't think that it was a profession where so many people didn't understand the markets, didn't have time for the markets and they need someone who just had the time to look into these things. I love helping people out. I love looking at the markets, making people money. The two just work so hand in hand. I love this job."
Tickets for the Blast game on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. are still available at RLancers.com or at the Dome Arena box office in Henrietta, N.Y.
It will be quite a busy weekend for Hantes and the Lancers, who also will host the St. Louis Ambush on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.