Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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1996-2010 Philadelphia Kixx

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Philadelphia KixxNational Professional Soccer League (1996-2001)
Major Indoor Soccer League (2001-2008)
National Indoor Soccer League (2008-2009)
Major Indoor Soccer League (2009-2010)

Born: 1995 – NPSL expansion franchise.
Died: 2010 – The Kixx cease operations.


Team Colors: Teal, Red & Black



The Philadelphia Kixx were a long-running indoor soccer team that enjoyed strong popularity in the City of Brotherly Love for a few years during the late 1990’s.   The club was originally founded as a National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) expansion franchise in 1996 by local businessman Ed Tepper.

Tepper was one of the pioneers of the sport of indoor soccer.  He more or less stumbled across the sport during a brief stint as owner of the old Philadelphia Wings box lacrosse team that played at the Spectrum in 1974 and 1975.  Captivated by the potential of the indoor game, Tepper quickly sold off the Wings to focus on soccer.  He was a co-founder of the first pro indoor league, the Major Indoor Soccer League, in 1978.  But Tepper had been away from the sport for more than a decade when came back to form the Kixx in 1995.  Tepper kept the team until 2002, when he turned over primary ownership to local attorney Jeffrey Rotwitt.  Rotwitt would support the club until its demise in 2010.

The Kixx were the top box office draw in the NPSL for three straight years from 1998 to 2000, averaging over 8,000 fans per game.  But the team’s fortunes dipped in the 2000’s as Major League Soccer and the rapid growth of the outdoor game relegated a succession of indoor soccer leagues to irrelevance and disarray.  The Kixx were further marginalized in 2009 when the Spectrum, their home of 13 years, closed it doors and the team was exiled to the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University.  The club went on a hiatus at the end of the 2009-10 season, which turned out to be just a euphemism for going out of business.

The Kixx won two league championships during their fourteen-year run, capturing Major Indoor Soccer League titles in 2002 and 2007.




The Kixx host the Baltimore Blast at the Spectrum, March 24, 2007.

The Kixx claim their second and final MISL championship against the Detroit Ignition, April 2007.




National Professional Soccer League Media Guides

National Professional Soccer League Programs

2001-Present Indoor Soccer Media Guides

2001-Present Indoor Soccer Programs


2006-2009 Detroit Ignition


The Detroit Ignition played three seasons of indoor soccer at the 3,800-seat Compuware Arena in suburban Plymouth, Michigan between 2006 and 2009.  The Ignition originated as an expansion franchise in the wobbly Major Indoor Soccer League in April 2006 and finished their run in the winter of 2008-09 as champions of a silly “lifestyle brand” called the Xtreme Soccer League.

Detroit entrepeneur John Hantz owned the Ignition and his Hantz Group advertised itself as the club’s jersey sponsor.  Hantz owned an array of insurance and financial services companies.  His sports group subsidiary dabbled in auto racing in addition to indoor soccer.

The club’s best known player was Major League Soccer (MLS) veteran Jamar Beasley, who played with the Ignition during the first two seasons of the team in the MISL.  In 1998, Beasley became the first high school player ever to jump directly to MLS, signing with the New England Revolution at the age of 18.

Beasley won MISL MVP honors with the Ignition in the club’s inaugural season of 2006-07, helping the Ignition to a league best record of 18-12.  The Ignition hosted the Philadelphia Kixx in the MISL Championship Game on April 21st, 2007 in a nationally televised game on the Versus cable network.  The Kixx defeated the Ignition 13-8, disappointing a capacity crowd at Compuware Arena.

Following the Ignition’s second season in the winter of 2007-08, the Major Indoor Soccer League folded.  The move was more of a procedural matter than a declaration of insolvency.  The MISL’s nine franchises all desired to keep playing in one form or another, but the chronically unstable league had a number of stockholders from dormant franchises that it wanted to sweep out the door.  Folding the league was apparently the easiest way to do so.

After the MISL folded, the teams split off into three different offshoot leagues.  The Ignition wound up in the strangest of the bunch – the Xtreme Soccer League – along with the Chicago Storm, Milwaukee Wave, New Jersey Ironmen and Philadelphia Kixx.

The gimmick of the XSL was that it was not really a league at all.  It was a “new interactive sports lifestyle” and a “12-month experience built around skilled soccer professionals, entertainment and fan participation – both live and online.”


Sounds exhausting!  What all this embarassing mumbo jumbo added up to here on Earth was that the players had to play some (Xtreme!) beach soccer exhibitions in the summer time.

The Ignition won the first and only XSL title by virtue of having the best regular season record at 12-8. There were no playoffs for the four-team league.  Ignition goalkeeper Danny Waltman played all 20 games and earned league MVP honors.

The Ignition folded along with the Xtreme Soccer League in the summer of 2009.


As of early 2012, most of the Detroit Ignition’s official website is still online at

After the Ignition folded, John Hantz turned his attention to urban agriculture and has proposed a $30 million investment over ten years to convert Detroit’s vast acreage of abandoned lots into cutting edge commercial farms.

Written by andycrossley

January 18th, 2012 at 1:41 am