The Baltimore Blast continued to seek outside help for its troubled defense yesterday, signing former Kansas City Comets defender Iain Fraser to a one-year contract.
Fraser, 27, becomes the third defender from other Major Soccer League teams that the Blast has signed this summer in an attempt to rebound from last year's 21-31 record. The other two are David Eise, 25, and Doug Neely, 26.
Eise comes to Baltimore from the St. Louis Storm, and Neely, like Fraser, comes from the defunct Comets.
"We need to tighten up on defense," said Cooper yesterday. "That's where it [winning] starts. I'm still somewhat angry over what happened last year. We went into the season with a plan and it didn't work out. We're looking to players like Iain Fraser to come in and be a part of turning this team around. Iain is a consistent player who can get assists and score goals. He's something like a Bruce Savage [former Blast player who retired this summer]."
Cooper said he first became interested in Fraser last season when Fraser played for Cooper in the MSL All-Star Game. Cooper said he spent the summer pursuing the veteran of five seasons with Kansas City.
Fraser, who has been Kansas City's Defender of the Year the past two seasons, said he and his wife, Denise, decided they wanted to leave the Comets before the team folded.
"I had progressed to the point where I was getting as much recognition as I was going to get in Kansas City," said Fraser. "For the job I was doing, I wanted more responsibility. But I was always in Kim Roentved's [10-time MSL All-Star selection] shadow out there. Kenny Cooper has given me more responsibility. I'm the most experienced defender on the team."
NOTES: The new Blast promotional theme for this season is "Anything Can Happen at a Blast Game." . . . The Blast and WCAO-AM radio announced yesterday that Dave Johnson, sports director at Washington's WTOP radio, will do the play-by-play for the team's games, replacing Art Sinclair. Longtime WCAO sports director Bob Bartel will continue to handle the commentary.