Jean Harbor has moved a major step closer to playing for the U.S. National team in the 1994 World Cup.
The Maryland Bays forward, who leads the American Professional Soccer League in scoring, has received the clearance he needs from the Nigerian Soccer Federation to seek spot on the United States squad.
"The secretary general of the Nigerian Soccer Federation has researched the records, and he said Jean never played for the Nigerian National team," Bays marketing director Emilio Pozzi said yesterday. "He's sending me a letter to verify it. Now, we're working on Jean's U.S. citizenship, and we hope to have it by the end of the year."
If Harbor, who will lead the Bays (16-2, 133 points) against the Albany Capitals (10-9, 90 points) tonight at Cedar Lane Park at 7:05, had played just one game for the Nigerian National team, he would have been ineligible to play for the U.S. National team. There apparently had been a misconception among some U.S. Soccer Federation officials that Harbor had played for the Nigerian team.
Harbor, 26, was born in Nigeria, but came to the United States to attend Alabama A&M and has lived in the Washington area since graduating.
"Jean has to come up with the forms [for citizenship]," said Pozzi. "And we'll be able to spend more time on it once our season is over in October."
Pozzi said U.S. National team coach Bora Milutinovic would like Harbor to have his U.S. citizenship by February so he can began training with the U.S. squad.
"Bora is coming to one of our playoff games to see Jean play, and he called me Monday to get a tape of last Saturday's game against San Francisco Bay," said Pozzi. "He's really interested in Jean. Bora wanted to know if there was something he could do to help Jean get his citizenship. Bora's assistant [Ralph Perez] came to see the Sheffield game and has a tape of the game."
NOTES: Harbor has been slowed by a groin injury for more than a week and said he might be forced to sit out tonight's game. He is listed as probable by the Bays. Coach Gary Hindley said: "Jean's banged up, but he had some time off this week and, hopefully, he'll be ready to play. I never want to play a game without Jean." . . . Bays D Chris Reif will return to action tonight after missing three 3 after his Aug. 3 wedding. . . Bays president John Liparini said the team is seeking investors to help meet the expanded financial requirements for the 1992 season in the U.S. Soccer Federation's major pro outdoor league. Liparini said the Bays will need to have a fully staffed, year-round front office; 8 to 12 players under a full-time contract; and a stadium that seats 6,000 to 10,000. . . . . According to Liparini, discussions are under way between Maryland, Howard County and Prince George's County officials to finance a stadium for the 1992 season.