The indoor and outdoor soccer forces have been feuding for years. But before now, their feud had not reached the playing field.
This weekend a select team of Major Soccer League indoor stars will meet the United States National outdoor team in two challenge matches that should settle some of the indoor-outdoor soccer arguments. The first match is scheduled to be played tonight at 8:30 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.; the second is set for Sunday, 5 p.m., at St. Louis Soccer Park.
Instead of selecting a team of stars that would be eligible to play for the United States in the World Cup, MSL commissioner Earl Foreman asked indoor soccer coaches Ron Newman of the San Diego Sockers and Don Popovic of the St. Louis Storm to choose the best possible outdoor players, regardless of their country of origin. As a result, only eight of the 19 MSL squad members are U.S. citizens, including Baltimore Blast defender Bruce Savage.
Two U.S. citizens left off the team are Blast midfielder Tim Wittman and his teammate, goalkeeper Scott Manning, both longtime MSL indoor stars.
"They obviously didn't want Americans," Manning said.
Wittman said: "I really didn't know much about it or give it any thought. If it was closer to the World Cup, I might want to give an all-out effort to make the team. But right now I wasn't in the right frame of mind to go out to St. Louis for the workouts."
Newman said Manning and Wittman were left off the team because "they haven't played outdoors professionally. If you look at the team, it's made up of guys who have all starred outdoors at some time."