Jean Harbor's contract negotiations were stalled last night, and midfielder Waad Hirmez said he could be headed back to the San Diego Sockers in a trade.
That was the state of the 1-4 Baltimore Blast less than 48 hours before the team was scheduled to meet the Sockers tomorrow night at the Baltimore Arena.
Harbor, a standout forward from the Maryland Bays, said he was disappointed the Blast had not changed its contract proposal from Wednesday night, and he called off a scheduled workout near his Silver Spring home.
"I was supposed to start working out today [yesterday] if I had signed," said Harbor. "My mind is ready to play soccer, and, if we come to an agreement tomorrow [today], I'll work out on my own at night and join the team for practice Saturday morning before the game. I think the ball is in their court. It's up to them to be considerate. We're close [to an agreement]."
However, Blast coach Kenny Cooper said last night that the team could not negotiate much with Harbor because of team salary-cap restrictions.
"If we didn't have the cap [16 players can be paid $508,000], we would give Jean what he wanted," said Cooper. "It's tough to make a negotiation if you don't have any money available."
Drew Forrester, Blast vice president of soccer operations, said yesterday that he told Jonas Harbor, who is his brother's agent, that the "ball's in his court."
"We have not reached a comfortable position with the Blast," Jonas Harbor said. "They need to put some force into their proposal for Jean to give up his job as a chemist. He's been there three years and will lose all his benefits to sign a six-month contract to play soccer."
Meanwhile, Hirmez, who has been at odds with Cooper the past several days over conditioning and team strategy, said last night that Cooper told him Wednesday during a meeting that he had talked to Sockers coach Ron Newman about a possible trade involving Hirmez.
"I'm sure San Diego is interested," said Hirmez. "I've already talked to Ron Newman about it. We didn't get into any specifics."