Scott Manning was in the middle of a soccer field at Gettysburg College yesterday when he was told by a friend that his nine-year career with the Baltimore Blast had ended.
"You kind of think that after nine years whether you've been good, bad or indifferent you could expect a telephone call [from the Blast] saying 'Goodbye, good luck or whatever,' " said Manning, who is in Gettysburg this week to help a former college roommate run a soccer camp for youngsters. "When the final decision was made, neither Ron [Blavatt, Manning's agent] nor I were informed. It wasn't like I was that hard to reach."
Blast general manager John Borozzi said Monday that the team had decided to sign former Tacoma Stars goalkeeper Cris Vaccaro to replace Manning as Baltimore's No. 1 goalkeeper for the 1991-92 season. Borozzi also said Baltimore had signed Hank Henry as the backup goalie.
Borozzi said Monday that Manning "didn't have a typical year for him last season" and that Vaccaro, 30, was "3 years younger than Scott."
That left the third most popular Blast player [behind only Bruce Savage and Stan Stamenkovic in fans' voting for All-Decade team in 1990-91] in the 11-year history of the team on the outside looking in and being informed by a friend who lives in Gettysburg. The friend had read about the Blast's decision not to re-sign Manning in a newspaper article.
Manning said he was aware of Baltimore's interest in Vaccaro but said he had heard at one point in the past month that Vaccaro was out of the picture.
When Manning was asked whether the move not to re-sign him was based on financial reasons, he said, "They're not paying me that much."
Manning said last night that he plans to keep his home in Baltimore, where he serves as assistant soccer coach at Loyola College and on the boards of the Upton School Project, the Baltimore Metropolitan Read-A-Thon, the American Heart Association of Maryland and the Multiple Sclerosis Society -- Maryland Chapter.
Blavatt said yesterday that he has been contacted by one head coach in the MSL who wants Manning as the team's No. 1 goalkeeper next season if Manning chooses to go to another city rather than retire.
Manning said he would return to Baltimore on Saturday and sit down and talk with his wife, Kathy, who is from Baltimore, Blavatt and people in the business community who have expressed an interest in him "post-soccer" before making a decision on whether to continue playing.
"I wanted to play at least one more year in Baltimore, but I'm not going to die. My kids [Kaitlyn and Jennifer] will say, 'Hello,' to me when I get back. Life is all about obstacles. Fairy tales only happen on TV," said Manning.