The Blast added Major Soccer League All-Star defender Iai Fraser to its roster yesterday, because coach Kenny Cooper offered him something no one else did.
"Other teams were interested, and I considered Dallas and San Diego," Fraser said. "But they either couldn't or wouldn't offer what Kenny offered. He offered me more responsibility. I had proved myself the last few seasons in Kansas City, that I could be a leader on the team, and yet they were hesitant to give me that role.
"That's one thing Kenny has said to me. That he is looking for me to take responsibility, to be a leader."
Fraser, who will report to Blast training camp on Sept. 17, is the second player from the defunct Kansas City Comets to join the Blast. The team announced the signing of former Comet Doug Neely last week.
"Doug and I are friends," said Fraser. "He was still debating what he was going to do, whether he'd go to Dallas or Baltimore, when I called him up and told him I was going to sign with Baltimore. That seemed to make his decision easier, because he would know someone else who was going to be there . . . But even if I hated Doug, I'd be glad to see him here, because he's a good defender."
Cooper is glad to see them both. The Blast coach is still smarting from last season's last-place finish in the Eastern Division that included 20 one-goal defeats.
"Everyone is asking where the goals are going to come from," said Cooper. "My feeling is if everyone concentrates, we can put the ball in the back of the net. But the key to winning is to tighten up defensively and the addition of Iain is a wonderful thing. He is a durable, hard-working defender who plays that position with a lot of intensity."