If anyone understands mergers, it is John Koskinen, whose company spends its time reorganizing disastrous mergers in the real world of big business.
Yesterday, Koskinen, who is also the owner of the Washington Stars, merged his team with the American Pro Soccer League champion Maryland Bays. This is one merger he hopes is structured for a sound beginning and a long, profitable life.
The organization has already started what it calls Challenge '91, which is an invitation for everyone, from soccer players to members of the business community, to become part of the team and help reach its goal of 3,000 season tickets.
"We think it is a major step forward in the development of the pro game," said Koskinen, owner of the Palmieri Co., an asset management business. "We want to build on the Bays support. We want to build ourselves into a regional force, positioned to be part of the outdoor professional league the United States Soccer Federation is planning to have in place by 1992."
The team, which will be called the Maryland Bays, will be the only professional outdoor team in the region. League officials voted to terminate the Washington Diplomats for "failure to adhere to league requirements" at the APSL meetings Sunday in Tampa.
"I'm pleased about this," said Bays coach Pete Caringi. "It has been very difficult with three teams in the D.C.-Virginia-Maryland area. Now, with our efforts combined, keeping the Bays name and playing in Columbia, we should be able to build a larger fan base."
The Bays, who will play the 1991 season at Cedar Lane Park in Howard County, will operate on a budget of between $500,000 and $600,000. Koskinen will serve as chairman of the franchise under the new organization, while John Liparini, the Bays' owner, will act as president.
Caringi said he has been offered a contract to continue coaching the Bays, and said he expects to come to terms at some point after the National Junior College Tournament is finished.
As the coach of the Essex Community College soccer team, Caringi is busy preparing his team for its JUCO Region XX semifinal against Allegheny-Pittsburgh, 8 p.m. Saturday at Anne Arundel CC. The winner will play again at the same site Sunday in the 8 p.m. region final against the winner of the Anne Arundel/Montgomery-Rockville semifinal.