On Nov. 23, the San Diego Sockers defeated the Toros de Mexico for their 41st consecutive victory, which set a record for the longest winning streak by a North American professional sports team. Although neither Chris Toth nor Mikel Palmerin played in the record-setting game, the two 2007 Fallbrook High School graduates both contributed to the streak during other games.
“It’s pretty unbelievable. I never thought I’d be a part of something like that,” Toth said. “To be a part of it is really special.”
The Sioux Fall Storm of the United Indoor Football League won 40 consecutive games between 2005 and 2008. Last season, the Sockers moved into second place on the all-time list with their 34th consecutive victory to surpass the National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Lakers, who won 33 games in a row during the 1971-72 season. The second-longest active streak is the 32 consecutive wins of the Washington Kastles; the 2013 World Team Tennis season will not start until the conclusion of the 2012-13 Professional Arena Soccer League season.
Toth appeared in 18 of the first 41 games of the Sockers’ winning streak, including the Nov. 17 match when the Sockers tied the record with an 18-3 road win over the Arizona Storm. Palmerin, who splits time between the Sockers’ reserve team known as the Fusion and the Sockers themselves, appeared in nine of streak’s first 41 games.
“It’s really special to me to be a part of that,” Palmerin said.
Initially the Sockers’ win streak wasn’t brought to the attention of the team. “We didn’t even think about how we were on a roll,” Toth said.
“It’s just been great. It’s been a big year,” Palmerin said. “It’s been a good process, a good last couple of games here.”
Toth and Riley Swift share goaltending duties for the Sockers. Swift was in the nets for the win over the Toros while Toth was San Diego’s goalie during the Sockers’ 40th consecutive victory Nov. 17.
“I was pretty happy to play that game,” Toth said. “There was kind of a lot on the line, so I was happy I was picked to play it.”
Toth admitted to being somewhat nervous at the start of the game where the Sockers had the chance to equal the record, but that subsided as the game went on. “There was a little bit of nerves for that game, but nothing too crazy,” he said.
Although the Storm had a 2-1 lead at the end of the first quarter the Sockers scored all seven goals during the second period and by the second quarter Toth felt confident that the Sockers would win.
Toth participated in warmups prior to the Nov. 23 game. He did not dress for the game but was on the Sockers’ bench during the match.
“For me every game is kind of like I want to go in there and win,” Toth said.
Toth was in the nets for 12 games during the 2011-12 season and made his 2012-13 playing debut against the Storm. He played in six games in 2010-11, including one prior to the streak.
“In the back of our minds we wanted to break that record, too, but now it’s all out of the way so we’re all about the championship now,” Toth said.
Palmerin played in nine of the Sockers’ games last season and scored one goal and one assist. “It’s always a battle out there,” Palmerin said. “It’s my job as a young guy to be ready whenever they need me.”
Palmerin was on the reserve team in 2010-11 and split 2011-12 between the Fusion and the Sockers. Palmerin has been assigned to the Fusion for 2012-13 but may see Sockers action later in the season. “I’m still waiting for my shot to get back out there and get a few more wins for the Sockers,” Palmerin said.
“It’s been good for me, being one of the younger guys,” Palmerin said. “I’m just staying patient, focusing on my training.”
Palmerin grew up watching the Sockers play. “Now being part of that, it’s special,” he said.