After 10 seasons with his hometown team, Tim Wittman is going to the Baltimore Blast's biggest rival.
Wittman, who joined the Blast at 17 out of Calvert Hall, agreed to a contract yesterday with the San Diego Sockers. Wittman will sign a one-year deal worth approximately $45,000 with the seven-time Major Soccer League champion Sockers, said his father and agent, Jack Wittman.
"It's sad the way it ended," said Wittman, 28, who had expressed his wish to spend his entire career with the Blast. "When you have to end what you've dreamed of all your life because of politics, it's too bad."
The Blast decided not to re-sign Wittman, a three-time All-Star midfielder, because of his differences with owner Ed Hale, a feud that boiled over in a shouting match at a team meeting in March.
Jack Wittman said his son had better financial offers from three other MSL teams, but he signed with San Diego because "he likes [Sockers coach] Ron Newman and the city."
San Diego executive vice president and general manager Randy Bernstein said: "Tim Wittman will look good in blue and gold. We like his attitude, his aggressiveness and overall style. He's proven year after year that he is a dedicated player. He is a fierce competitor. He can play the back and the front. We're always interested in a player of Tim's caliber."
The Sockers have beaten the Blast four times in MSL championship series.
Wittman said he went into Hale's office before the 1990-91 season and told him: "I want my career to begin and end in Baltimore. It will show other kids that dreams can come true. Unfortunately, it never happened."