Midfielder Billy Ronson and forward Rusty Troy yesterday became the first significant players to re-sign with the Baltimore Blast under the reduced Major Soccer League team salary cap, agreeing to one-year contracts.
No one in the Blast organization would say how much Ronson or Troy signed for, but it is thought that Ronson will earn around $37,500 this season and Troy will play for approximately $30,000.
Ronson, 34, is coming off his first MSL All-Star season and will enter his seventh season with the Blast. Ronson becomes the player with the most continuous years on the Blast now that 10-year veteran Tim Wittman, nine-year veteran Scott Manning and seven-year veteran Bruce Savage are gone.
Defender Mike Stankovic, who still is negotiating a contract with the team, has played eight seasons for the Blast, but those years were interrupted when he played 2 1/2 seasons for the Wichita Wings before returning to Baltimore in January 1990.
Ronson led the Blast in scoring more than half of last season and
played in all 52 games. He had 35 goals and 33 assists for 68 points, placing him third on the team behind Dale Mitchell and Domenic Mobilio (both tied for the scoring lead with 82 points).
Troy, 24, enters his fourth season with the Blast. He played in all 52 games last season. He had 28 goals and 16 assists for 44 points, his most productive of three seasons.
Ronson said of the off-season controversy that has surrounded the departure of Wittman and Manning: "It's time to stop bitching and get on with the job of playing soccer. I know we'll put one hell of a team out there on the floor this season."