Marco Terminesi was one of the bright young stars of the Xtreme Soccer League and the third incarnation of the Major Indoor Soccer League, but he walked away from the game at 27 after just four seasons. Now, after a six-year absence, he will take the field again as a member of the Canadian National Arena Soccer Team as they visit the Baltimore Blast in an exhibition game at SECU Arena this Saturday.

“Marco is a proven winner, a proven goal scorer and although he has not played in years, he will be helpful with the many first-time Canadian players attending this game,” said former teammate and Canada Head Coach Giuliano Oliviero.

Terminesi was the XSL Rookie of the Year in 2008/09 after leading the Milwaukee Wave with 19 goals and 12 assists in 20 games. The next season, however, he was limited to just nine games when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor that February.  His 19 points still landed him on the MISL’s 2nd Team, despite missing 11 games.

The native of Woodbridge, Ontario returned with a vengeance in 2010/11 leading the Wave in scoring again, and helping them win their first championship in six years. Terminesi finished second in the MISL with 44 points in 19 games and was named to the All-MISL 1st Team.

His final season saw him notch only 24 points in 15 games, but he added eight points in four playoff games to help the Wave win a second straight title. And then he walked away.

“Leaving professional soccer in 2012 at the age of 27 was not an easy decision for me and was well thought out,” he says. “I had a good education and was always business-minded knowing that soccer was not going to be a career to raise a stable household. I had just finished winning back-to-back MISL championships and felt that I was at the peak of my soccer career. I was feeling great and healthy but most importantly satisfied. I never regretted my decision, it was just my time and I acknowledged it.”

Marco lives in Florida with his wife Cassandra and two kids (Luca, 3 1/2, and Capri 1 1/2), and runs a successful real estate company. He has kept his foot in the game by playing in top South Florida leagues with the amateur Jupiter Strikers.

Terminesi was almost lured back to the pro game by the Rochester Lancers, who acquired his rights in 2014. “(Lancers owner) Sam Fantauzzo and I are good friends and I actually have done real estate with him in sunny South Florida. We did have an agreement for me to return back in 2014 but at that time I was just starting my real estate career so it was really hard for me to leave. My heart wanted me to play soccer but my business mind as a real estate professional bloomed extremely quickly and my career took precedence.”

For one night at least, the chance for Terminesi to play for Oliviero was too great to pass up. “He contacted me regarding the match on Saturday,” Teminesi says. “Not only do I consider him one of the best mentors, teachers, players and teammates in the game of indoor soccer but I also look at him as a friend. I have always been a soccer player with grit and fight so I never say no to an opportunity to play a match, especially when it entails representing your national team.”

“Obviously we know Marco will not pick up where he left off in 2012,” said Oliviero, who also now coaches the Wave, “but I think his competitive spirit will not only carry him through this game but also bring out glimpses of brilliance that the Wave fans enjoyed watching over the years.”

“Winning two championships in 2011 and 2012 with Giuliano as a teammate was a very memorable time in my career,” said Terminesi, “and I never wanted to disappoint him then and won’t start now so I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to play under him as a coach.”

“Who knows, he might love it so much he might consider coming back to Milwaukee to excite the Wave fans once again,” says Oliviero, maybe only half kidding.

Terminesi, now 33, will join a Canada squad that will have a strong representation of indoor veterans including Vahid Assadpour, Freddy Moojen, Daniel Chamale, and Edgar Bartolomeu. “I’m looking forward to playing the Blast and embracing the opportunity to feel young again.”