ASL team wants Arena, but Cooper may stand in way

July 17, 1992|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,Staff Writer

Coach Kenny Cooper has spent his career nurturing indoor soccer here and in England. When the Major Soccer League folded last Friday, the Blast coach did not give up his international dream.

"We have first right of refusal on summer dates at the [Baltimore] Arena for soccer," said Cooper, the coach of Baltimore's new National Professional Soccer League team.

"You're not going to let 10 years of work go when you have two English teams ready to field franchises if they can play in the summer."

Cooper conceivably could block the Baltimore team in the Arena Soccer League, which is to begin play next spring, from playing at the Arena. But Ed Tepper, commissioner of the ASL, said he is not worried.

"I think Kenny has to realize neither he nor I owns indoor soccer," said Tepper, who, with former MSL commissioner Earl Foreman, started the game in the United States. "I'm not going to read anything into what he may have said. I've been assured by [Centre Management] dates will be available."

Cooper said the new NPSL team has 21 days to clear any soccer dates proposed to the Arena by others.

"We're not out to inhibit anyone," said Cooper, who has worked to arrange a visit by English teams, originally to play MSL teams. "But I'd have been a fool not to have protected my new owner's interests. I mean, it be wonderful if we could put on a tournament with Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa, San Diego, Dallas and ourselves."

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