U.S. Soccer Federation president Alan Rothenberg left little doubt about the role the Major Soccer League will play in preparing the United States for the 1994 World Cup.
Rothenberg put the burden on the MSL's shoulders yesterday when he named a 16-man committee to develop plans to create a national professional outdoor league. MSL commissioner Earl Foreman was named chairman, and the Blast's Ed Hale is one of four MSL owners on the committee.
"It's a ticklish situation," Foreman said last night. "I'm a little sensitive to say we're leading the way. If we do, it will be by acts and deeds, not words. Foremost, I want to make it perfectly clear that all parts of soccer are represented, and we're all in this together.
"But if you look at the makeup of the committee and draw a conclusion that it is loaded MSL-wise, let's say . . . The MSL may carry the ball, but everyone should understand that every member of this committee has an equal voice and will be heard."
Other MSL representatives include: owners Chris Clouser (Kansas City), Ron Fowler (San Diego) and Milan Mandaric (St. Louis).
"The composition of this committee speaks well in saying the jealousies and competitiveness that has stood in the way of working together in the past are behind us," said Foreman. "There are people on this committee . . . who know the jealousies and arguments of the past got us nowhere. There are people on it who know nothing of the past and don't want to. We are all looking to the future together. That's as it should be."
Foreman will have a meeting with Rothenberg Sunday in St. Louis, before the MSL Select team's game against the U.S. National team.
"I hope at that time to discuss what his aspirations are for this committee, what his timetable is for our contributions," said Foreman. "I think the critical decisions for us are what kind of outdoor league we want to establish and when we want to get it in place."
The International Soccer Federation, FIFA, has said the United States has to have an outdoor league established by 1992. Foreman said he has already asked Hale, chairman of the MSL's scheduling committee, to have a report on the 1991-92 season by the February All-Star break.
"I don't want to step on Ed's toes, but I know his thoughts and I know we are looking into ending our indoor season by May 1, to open a window of May, June, July, August and possibly September for teams in our league who might want to play outdoors."
Other committee members include:
U.S. Amateur Soccer Association chairman Milton Aimi; Rick Davis, pro player and Olympic representative on the USSF National Board of Directors; Michael Hogue, consultant to the USSF; John Koskinen, owner American Soccer League's Washington Stars; Jim Peters, owner National Professional Soccer League's Milwaukee Wave.
Sal Rapaglia, Northeast Super Soccer League commissioner; William Sage, chairman of the Western Soccer League; Clive Toye, ASL chairman; Dan Van Voorhis, WSL's San Francisco Bay Blackhawks president. USSF treasurer Richard Groff and Rothenberg will be non-voting members.