On a Roll: Steve Ryan

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Steve Ryan, 57, this year was named commissioner of the Canton, Ohio-based National Professional Soccer League, where he hopes to increase sponsor activity and attendance at the nine-club league's indoor games. Previously he spent 15 years with the National Hockey League and three years at bowling marketing company Strike Ten Entertainment.

Mission: To raise the profile of indoor soccer and move the NPSL's headquarters closer to sponsors in the New York area.

Edge: Indoor soccer is a more fast-paced, exciting game than outdoor soccer. The games are held in the off-season, and are more fun and affordable for families.

Challenge: We face a very crowded sports marketplace. We need to develop a common vision for the league and foster teamwork among clubs to help sell the game to fans and sponsors.

Coup: Strong sponsorship deals with MBNA and Master-Card, a new deal with Lycos and several new marketing deals in the works for 2001.

Fact: We are one of the few sports with a 12-month calendar if you include our summer camp activities matching kids with players. Our grassroots program exposing school-age kids to indoor soccer is one of the best in-school sports programs in the nation.

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