Outdoor game to return here in May Baltimore Bays part of 37-team league

January 08, 1993|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

Professional outdoor soccer will return to Baltimore in May when the city begins play in the 37-team United States Inter-Regional Soccer League.

The official announcement of Baltimore's entering the largest outdoor soccer league in the country will come Jan. 15 at a downtown news conference being held in conjunction with the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Convention.

Ben Neil, general manager of the new Baltimore franchise that will be called the Bays, said yesterday the team's coach and several players would be introduced at the news conference.

Many of the players will be former members of the Blast and Maryland Bays.

"We're going to have an American coach, half a dozen marquee players from the Blast and Maryland Bays, and several Baltimore area unlimited players," said Neil. "All our players will have close ties to Baltimore. We'll be operating under a realistic budget. We never considered joining the American Professional Soccer League [currently a seven-team outdoor league that formerly included the Maryland Bays]."

Neil said the league franchise fee of $10,000 already has been paid and the team will have "three or four owners."

The East Baltimore attorney also said the Bays would play an indoor soccer season in the United States Inter-Regional Soccer League. Neil said the team definitely would not play indoors at the Baltimore Arena.

It is thought the indoor schedule would be played at the Du Burns Arena or Myers Pavilion.

Neil said the third version of the Baltimore Bays will play at UMBC from May to July.

There will be a 16-game schedule, with eight home and eight away games, followed by the playoffs in August.

The Bays will compete in a nine-team Atlantic Division that also includes the Delaware Wizards, the Richmond (Va.) Kickers, the Greensboro (N.C.) Dynamo, the Charlotte (N.C.) Eagles, the Columbia (S.C.) Spirit, the Charleston (S.C.) Battery, the Raleigh (N.C.) Flyers and a Connecticut team.

The other divisions in the league, which has been in operation since 1985, are Pacific, South Central, Southwest and Southeast.

The original Baltimore Bays began play in 1967 at Memorial Stadium. The second version of the Baltimore Bays played a 10-game international schedule in 1972. Other outdoor teams in the area have been the Baltimore Comets (1974) and the Maryland Bays (1988-1991).

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