In less time than it takes to turn off a light, APSL commissioner Bill Sage rejected an offer from the Major Soccer League to field an outdoor select team in the struggling APSL for the coming season.
"I don't know what Earl [Foreman, MSL commissioner] was thinking when he sent me this letter," Sage said yesterday afternoon. "He hasn't seen fit to call me, and this letter wasn't even cold off the fax machine before I started getting calls from the media asking for my reaction."
After reading of the Maryland Bays' folding this week, Foreman said his "knee-jerk reaction" was to offer help to the APSL, which is left with five teams.
"If adding a sixth would make a positive difference to them in terms of survival, I thought we could do it," Foreman said. "It was a good-faith offer. If Bill Sage isn't interested, that's fine. We wish them well."
Traditionally, organizers of outdoor soccer in the United States have harbored resentment for the newer indoor game. At the same time, the MSL was not cooperative when it came to lending its players to the U.S. national team.
During the past 2 1/2 years, however, both sides have worked to end their disagreements. But yesterday's events seemed to point out the state of soccer in the United States is not in harmony.
Sage initially seemed more upset by the timing of the offer and calls from reporters than he was interested in the tone of the letter, which expressed a willingness by the MSL to do whatever it could "to help" the state of soccer in the United States.
"Of course we're grateful, but it won't work," Sage said, rejecting the suggestion in Foreman's letter that Foreman, Sage and U.S. Soccer Federation president Alan Rothenberg meet to discuss what assistance the MSL might be able to offer. "We're committed to building a professional outdoor league, and it wouldn't help us to have something of a hybrid floating around."