Blast coach Kenny Cooper believes "you can have anything you want, if you want it badly enough, and all we want is to win."
Taking what he hopes is a step in that direction, the Blast has signed Loyola College grad and former Cleveland Crunch midfielder Joe Koziol and defender David Eise, who played the last two seasons for the St. Louis Storm.
"We're looking to restructure, and both Joe and David have real good speed," said Cooper. "I think with the salary cap [reduced to $550,000 per team], you're going to see this team emerge along the lines of the team we had in 1982-83, when we didn't have a lot of big stars, but we had a lot of young, hungry players who played hard at both ends of the floor."
The Blast continues to talk to All-Star forward Tatu of Dallas, to Kansas City midfielder Carl Valentine, to San Diego forward Waad Hirmez and others. Cooper would not count any of them out as future additions, but continued to stress the Blast will be built on an old tradition of strong defense and a new attitude.
"It is only natural when players have been around for a long time and seen cutback after cutback, that it is going to affect their attitudes," Cooper said. "That can be contagious. The biggest change I'd like to see is in attitude. The last couple years have grated on everyone. What we want are young guys who are hungry to earn starting positions and not caught up in all the events in the league."
Eise, 25, has played in 94 career MSL games with eight goals, nine assists and 109 blocked shots.
"I feel real positive about this move to Baltimore," Eise said. "Ever since I started talking about a contract with the Blast, I've become more and more excited about what they're trying to do with their team. I think we'll have good chemistry."
Koziol, who graduated from Loyola in 1989, is the younger brother of former Blast and Loyola player Stan Koziol. He is even more thrilled to be playing here.
"I went to college here and called this city my home for the last five years," said Koziol, who scored 10 goals and five assists with limited playing time the last two years in Cleveland. "I'll give 110 percent on the field and do my best to help."
The Blast now has seven players under contract and is close to agreements with All-Star forward Domenic Mobilio and midfielder Mark Mettrick.
The team also is close to working out arrangements for a return appearance in the Birmingham, England, indoor tournament next January.
Former San Diego Sockers forward Paul Wright has yet to report for a physical. Cooper said Sockers coach Ron Newman has been in touch, trying to work out a trade, "but Paul is the quickest player in the league, and we're not too quick to say
we'll trade him."