The Major Soccer League's new roster limit and salary cap claimed another victim yesterday as the Blast cut backup goalkeeper Hank Henry.
"I saw it coming," Henry said yesterday, one day before the opening of training camp. "I knew it was a possibility. I wish it hadn't happened, but it has. Obviously, goalkeepers in Baltimore are expendable," he said, referring to former starting goalie Scott Manning, who was not re-signed by the Blast.
Henry was one of the first players re-signed for this season, before the players association and the MSL agreed to reduce rosters from 18 to 16 players and to cut the salary cap by $100,000 to $550,000.
Blast vice president Drew Forrester said the cut was unavoidable, given those two changes.
Henry had re-signed for a salary estimated in the mid-$20,000 range. Forrester said the team now wants to allot $16,000 or less for the position.
"When we signed Hank, we didn't know where the team was heading," Forrester said. "The cuts have created a league-wide change in philosophy. It is unfortunate, because Hank can play. But he has his needs and we can't meet them."
The Blast foresees No. 1 keeper Chris Vaccaro playing as many as 35 of the 40 games this season. Among those vying for the smaller backup role are: Jason Wright from Loyola College; Joe Mallia, Old Dominion University; Richard Alphonso, currently a Columbia resident; and Raj Wakhale, Hartwick College.
The Blast also has invited Maryland Bays goalkeeper Steve Powers to try out for the indoor position.
Henry had a 7-10 record and a 5.34 goals-against average last season. He joined the Blast Nov. 7, 1990, after the team released Scoop Stanisic.
"I've made several calls on Hank's behalf, telling a number of teams in both the MSL and the NPSL [National Professional Soccer League] that if they've got an opening, Hank has the ability," Forrester said.
Henry, 26, who has degrees in public relations and physical education from Southern Methodist University, said he will return home to Dallas and reconsider his future.