Buffalo is the new leader in MSL expansion derby

Soccer Notebook

January 27, 1991|By Bill Free

"TC The world of possible expansion cities for the 1991-92 Major Soccer League season has taken another turn.

A month ago, Pittsburgh was the best bet to join the MSL in timfor next season and Phoenix was second.

Now Buffalo, N.Y., has resurfaced as a potential expansion citfor 1991-92 and has apparently passed Pittsburgh and Phoenix as the hottest candidate.

MSL commissioner Earl Foreman is going to Buffalo this week to meet with prospective owners. Foreman is making no predictions on expansion since he has been burned so often in the past by cities that have failed to complete bids to join the league.

Minneapolis and Charlotte, N.C., have been all but declared ithe league over the past two years by Foreman before arena problems forced both out of the picture for now.

However, Baltimore Blast owner Ed Hale, a member of the MSL expansion committee, said last week that Foreman wouldn't be going to Buffalo if that city wasn't close to joining the league.

It could be that Foreman hopes to corral Buffalo as the ninth member of the MSL in time to make an announcement at the league meetings in Kansas City, Mo., Feb. 11-13.

The meetings will be held in conjunction with the 12th annual MSL All-Star Game that will be played Feb. 13 in Kansas City.

The MSL College Indoor Soccer Showcase Game will also be played during the All-Star break (Feb. 12). That game has traditionally been played during the summer and accompanied by league meetings.

But the MSL has combined its winter and summer meetings and its All-Star Game and the collegiate All-Star Game.

The players' selections for the Eastern Division All-Star team will announced Tuesday and there is still a lot of speculation whether Baltimore Blast leading scorer Billy Ronson will be named.

A league source said last week that the Wichita players had nonamed Ronson. The source said that the Wings had selected Domenic Mobilio, Dale Mitchell, Bruce Savage and Scott Manning.

If that form held up in Cleveland and Kansas City, MSL officials would have to look closely at the way the players make their selections.

It's no secret that MSL players like to vote for their friends and players who have strong reputations.

To leave Ronson off the 12-man list would be an injustice. But it wouldn't be a complete shock, since he admits he isn't liked by his peers because of his aggravating style of play.

If he isn't chosen by the players, he will be picked by Blast coach Kenny Cooper, the head coach for the East team. Cooper will choose four players to complete the 16-man team.

The Western squad will be announced Wednesday.

*

San Diego Sockers forward Waad Hirmez, who was in town last night to play against the Blast, is enjoying his finest season (26 goals, nine assists in 27 games) in the MSL.

But Hirmez, who was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and lived there 16 years before coming to San Diego, has more pressing things on his mind since the war broke out in the Persian Gulf.

Hirmez, who became a U.S. citizen in 1986, said: "My feelings and prayers are with people on both sides. I have friends here who are over there, and I still have relatives over there. It doesn't help much that I come from there. Everybody says we should destroy the country. I don't like to hear that."

Hirmez said he grew up one mile from the palace in which Saddam Hussein lives. He learned recently that the Iraqi government moved into his family's house.

"It could be that it [family home] will be destroyed," he said. "It would be a sad thing. When I have kids, it would make me feel good to show where I come from."

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