Harbor suits up, but only for talks on Blast tryout

September 29, 1991|By Bill Free

The expected Jean Harbor tryout with the Baltimore Blast never came off yesterday.

Harbor apparently had negotiating, instead of practicing, on his mind, as he arrived 1 hour, 15 minutes late at William Myers Pavilion with recently named agent, brother Jonas Harbor, at his side.

Blast coach Kenny Cooper said Harbor doesn't want to begin his tryout until the team agrees to reimburse him upfront for the more than $500 he will lose for missing four days of work at his job as a chemist in Rockville.

Cooper said it would be impossible for the Blast to give Harbor the money upfront because it would "go against the ground rules we've set up for the other players who have to make the team before getting reimbursed for missing work."

Cooper made the comments after meeting with the Harbors for 15 minutes in his office at the Blast practice site. Drew Forrester, vice president of soccer operations, also took part in the meeting.

Harbor, a forward for the Maryland Bays outdoor team who is being pursued by the U.S. National team, and his brother refused to talk about the specifics of the meeting.

But they both indicated a willingness for Harbor (the American Professional Soccer League Most Valuable Player in 1991 with 17 goals and 11 assists) to report to training camp Tuesday to begin the tryout.

"I believe I'll help the Blast win a championship," Jean Harbor said. "I'm healthy [he had a pulled groin muscle for the last six weeks of the Bays' season] and ready to play."

Jonas Harbor explained that he and his brother were held up by "highway construction" and that the player couldn't practice because of prior commitments. However, the Harbors watched the Blast work out for approximately 25 minutes before leaving.

"I was so excited about Jean coming in that I couldn't sleep much last night [Friday]," said Cooper. "I was thinking about what line I would put him with and wondering what he would look like out there with our team. We totally restructured our practice so I could meet with him before we went on the field. But I guess we were on two different agendas."

Even though Cooper didn't see Harbor on the field yesterday, he was impressed by the way the player was dressed in a light green business suit and gold bracelets.

"He was dressed like a movie star," said Cooper. "He looks like he should be in Hollywood. He's an extremely confident athlete, and it shows in everything he does."

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