New Bays prepare for May kickoff

January 16, 1993|By Marc Bouchard | Marc Bouchard,Contributing Writer

Can professional outdoor soccer thrive in Maryland?

The newly formed Baltimore Bays will find out beginning in May, when they kick off their outdoor season in the 40-team U.S. Interregional Soccer League.

The Bays will play a 16-game schedule in the USISL's nine-team Atlantic Division. The team's eight home games will be played on weekend nights at UMBC Stadium.

The Bays also will play an indoor schedule from November through February at the Du Burns Arena in Canton.

"We want soccer to survive in Baltimore on a long-term basis in a league that's realistic," said Bays vice president and general manager Ben Neil.

At yesterday's news conference at the City Lights restaurant in Harborplace, the Bays introduced coach Kevin Healey and three of the seven players who have commited to playing for the team.

All seven have played for the Major Soccer League's Baltimore Blast and/or the Maryland Bays, which played in the American Professional Soccer League from 1988 to 1991.

Present yesterday were former Blast and Bays players Joe Barger and Steve Powers and former Blast player Mark Mettrick.

Also committed to the team are Jeff Nattans (Bays), Rob Ryerson (Bays), Bill Ronson (Blast) and Chris Reif (Bays and Blast).

The remaining spots for the 26-man roster will be filled through open tryouts beginning next month.

For Mettrick, the new team means a chance to return to the game he grew up playing.

"I want to play outdoor soccer," said Mettrick. "Growing up in England, I played outdoors three times a week.

"I haven't played [outdoors] in a while and I feel like this is my last chance."

Healey, a Baltimore native, coached under-19 national championship teams in 1990 and 1992. He is also the president of the Maryland Major Soccer League, the Baltimore Beltway Youth Soccer League and the Soccer Club of Baltimore.

"We're very happy to be involved in the USISL," said Healey. "I've watched the growth of this league and couldn't wait till it got up to this area."

USISL commissioner Francisco Marcos, who started the league in the Southwest in 1986, promises that this version of the Bays will help area youth soccer programs.

"We pay serious attention to youth development," said Marcos. "That is a very important part of this league."

Bays at a glance

What: Baltimore Bays of the U.S. Interregional Soccer League

When: Outdoor season runs May through August. Indoor season runs November through February.

Where: Home outdoor games at UMBC Stadium. Home indoor games at Du Burns Arena.

Tickets: $6.50 day of game, $5.50 in advance and $4.50 each for groups of 10 or more. Call (410) 327-BAYS.

Tryouts: Players interested may send their resumes to: Baltimore Bays, Attention: Kevin Healey, 3224 Eastern Ave., Baltimore, Md. 21224.

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