Blast rookie Dominic Feltham may have gotten the last spot on the team's roster, anyway, but now he'll never know.
A space opened for Feltham yesterday, when three-year veteran Glenn Carbonara decided to leave the team. Now, all the second-round draft choice from the University of Maryland needs is a work visa.
"I'm apprehensive about this," said Feltham, a native of Esher in Surrey, England. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity and hoping the visa works out. But I don't want to make too much out of it yet, in case it all falls in my face [today]."
Feltham, who was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference midfielder last season, is here on a student visa, which is good for the next several months. But, according to the law, he can not work here without the proper work permit.
Coach Kenny Cooper's executive assistant Janet Streett is busily trying to ascertain whether a work visa can be obtained by the season opener Saturday in Wichita. Management hopes she will have an answer this afternoon. Final rosters are due in the league office tomorrow. Cooper said last night he is sure "it will all work out."
Feltham impressed Cooper and assistant coach Jim Pollihan in last weekend's preseason games against Cleveland. As Pollihan says, "The best thing is Dom has been constantly improving."
While the Blast has lost all four preseason games against St. Louis and Cleveland, Feltham has managed three goals, despite difficult conditions and limited playing time.
"The coaches talked to me before last weekend's games to tell me they'd give me a chance to play," said Feltham. "My job was to go out and make their decision as tough as possible. I know Glenn's leaving makes it easier for me, but it is just like when you score a goal: No one cares if it is a beautiful shot or if the ball bounces in off your knee, so long as it goes in. In this case, it's just nice to have the opportunity."
Before Carbonara, a defender, decided to go, Cooper was faced with squeezing 19 players onto an 18-man roster.
Carbonara made his decision after a discussion with Cooper convinced him he would see limited playing time.
"I think it's the best decision for me," said Carbonara. "The most important thing for me at this stage is to play. I think you become stagnant if you just sit on the bench."
"We've got a very interchangeable team," said Cooper. "This would be Glenn's third year and . . . It was the same situation with Guy [Furfaro, who was let go last week]. We can't get them playing time."
Today, Carbonara will join the Hershey Impact of the National Professional Soccer League, which is coached by former Blast player Nick Nikolic.
Carbonara said he hopes to start for Hershey as a midfielder, and Nikolic said he believes the 24-year-old has the talent to be a star in the nine-team league, which opens its season Nov. 11.
Cooper said he will continue to watch Carbonara's development, and added he would like to develop a working relationship with Hershey.
"I'd like to be able to send players up and down and have a relationship like the Capitals have with the Skipjacks," said Cooper.
Two years ago, Hershey came to the Blast's rescue by allowing its goalkeeper Scoop Stanisic to join Baltimore after Scott Manning suffered a knee injury. That situation opened the door for Stanisic, who has become an integral part of the team.
"Scoop came through that way, and Glenn may develop more there," said Cooper. "Having a team like Hershey to work with would just be perfect."
Nikolic said he too would like to see such a development.
"Why not?" said the Impact coach. "It could be good for us and for the Blast. Players get more playing time here and we are developing some talent. If we can help players improve and go to the MSL, I think that is a very good thing."