Seeking investors, Bays owner is falling short of goal

December 11, 1991|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Evening Sun Staff Gary Davidson contributed to this article. dHC OZB

Maryland Bays owner John Liparini is on the phone daily trying to keep his soccer team alive.

"I haven't given up, although I probably should," said Liparini, who, with co-owner John Koskinen, is trying to find investors to contribute $400,000. "I hope we're able to hold it together and play again in 1992. Every day someone comes up to me and offers to help with a thousand dollars. I thank them, but that's not the kind of investors I need. You have to be able to lose the money if things don't work out. What I hope is that I can find what we need and those people will use their money to buy season tickets."

Liparini confirmed that the Bays have not posted their $100,000 letter of credit -- a performance bond guarantee to finish the 1992 American Professional Soccer League season -- but have been given an extension to Dec. 31.

Liparini has been looking for new investors since August. He said he has commitments for $200,000, but it is a slow go on the remaining $200,000. He is talking to three groups: Two are interested in investing; one in buying the club.

"I hope to be able to put this together and play in 1992, but I'm not putting any percentage on it," he said.

For the past four years, Liparini has kept the Bays alive. There's been frustration but also progress. This past season, the team set an APSL record by finishing 19-2 in the regular season, and attendance was up from 1,726 in 1990 to 2,465 in 1991.

"The problem is progress has been at a snail's pace," he said. "But I think we've made impact in the development of the game. We've lifted the game to a better quality. And there are people in our league who are making contributions to the U.S. national team. We've helped make the U.S. team more competitive. That's an achievement for us.

"Financially, it has been disappointing. But no one here is asking to make money."

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